MURDER TRIAL POSTPONED FOR CAMBODIAN PM�S NEPHEW


2004-01-08
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PHNOM PENH�The trial of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen�s nephew Nim Sophea has been postponed while his attorney seeks a second person he says is responsible for the murder or injury of seven people during an Oct. 27 shooting spree, RFA reports.

�This second person will help Nim Sophea�s case to proceed smoothly. If we�re forced to trial with only one witness, I�m afraid the legal process won�t work smoothly. So we have asked that the court delay the trial,� Nim Sophea�s attorney, Dy Borima, told RFA�s Khmer service.

The proposed second person, Doeun�who is still at large�is said by Nim Sophea and his lawyer to have been the man responsible for killing three and injuring four people on the Oct. 27 shooting spree. Police are still tracking Doeun down.

Nim Sophea, 22, was charged Nov. 25 with three counts of murder and multiple traffic violations for allegedly racing through Phnom Penh streets firing an AK-47 rifle on Oct. 27. Three people were killed from bullet wounds and four were injured in traffic accidents. Nim Sophea entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment in a Phnom Penh court and has been in police custody since.

His trial was slated to open Thursday, but was postponed when his lawyer proposed another witness who he alleges is responsible for the incident.

Police arrested Nim Sophea after a month-long search. Nim Sophea�s younger brother Nim Chantana and another man named So Van are also believed to be in police custody for taking part in the shooting spree.

Earlier this week, the attorney for the four injured victims, Nguon Sothearith, said he did not believe there will be a fair trial.

�I don�t believe the court will achieve justice at the Jan. 8 trial. If the trial is not satisfactory to the victims, I will take the case to the appeals court,� Nguon Sothearith said.

Nim Sophea is a son of Hun Sen�s sister, Hun Sinath, a Foreign Ministry official.

�I don�t know much about my son�s case. I am counting on the court and his lawyer to do a good job,� Hun Sinath told RFA Tuesday. #####

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