Cambodia military policeman acquitted of reporter murder

Cambodia military policeman acquitted of reporter murder

PHNOM PENH - A Cambodian court acquitted a military policeman Wednesday over the brutal killing of a journalist who exposed illegal logging, a lawyer said, as the reporter's family vowed to keep fighting for justice.

Ean Bunheng and his wife were arrested in September last year, days after the body of Hang Serei Oudom, a reporter at local-language Vorakchun Khmer Daily, was found in the boot of his own car in northern Ratanakiri Province.

Police at the time said he appeared to have suffered axe blows to the head. "The court dropped the charges against both my clients because there is no evidence," said defence lawyer Tep Monicheat. Court officials could not be reached for comment.

The accused pair lived at a karaoke parlour where the reporter was last seen. Nobody else has been arrested over his death.

Oudom's wife Im Chanty told AFP that she could not accept the ruling, which can be appealed at the prosecution's request within 15 days.

"The court's decision is very unjust," she told AFP. "I will ask rights activists to help me fight the case."

Ou Virak, president of the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights, told AFP that the ruling reflected the "impunity" in the country.

Environmental activists regularly face threats in Cambodia, where land grabbing has become a major source of tension.

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