Cambodia urged to free activist murder 'scapegoats'

The family of a slain Cambodian labour leader on Tuesday called for the release of two men -- seen by rights groups as scapegoats -- sentenced to 20 years in prison for his daylight murder.

The appeal came as more than 100 workers and unionists placed flowers and lit incense sticks at the spot where government critic Chea Vichea was gunned down in Phnom Penh nine years earlier.

"We demand that Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun be freed. They are not the real killers," the late activist's brother Chea Mony told AFP.

Chea Mony, who now heads the Free Trade Union co-founded by his brother, urged the government to find the real culprits.

Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun had their long jail terms upheld last month after a long legal battle, in a verdict that rights watchdogs said was based on insufficient evidence.

The pair say they were framed by a group of police.

Rights groups say Cambodia's legal system is influenced by powerful and wealthy interests, leaving the country without proper rule of law.

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