Ex-Governor Gets 13 Years in Jail for Mistress Murder

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Lay Vannak in a photo posted to the Takeo provincial administration website on December 3, 2017

A former Takeo provincial governor and his brother were found guilty on Monday of the murder of the ex-governor’s mistress, sentencing them to 13 and 10 years in prison, respectively, according to a court spokesman.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Presiding Judge Ham Mengse issued the sentences against Lay Vannak and his brother Lay Narith, a former Takeo deputy police chief, on Monday morning, court spokesman Suos Vithyearandy told VOD.

The body of Chev Sovathana, who was 36 at the time, was found hanged in her Takeo home in January 2018. Authorities initially ruled the death a suicide, but later reinvestigated after her family raised suspicions, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

Two other men — Choem Vuth, the husband of Sovathana’s maid; and Men Sakmay, Vannak’s driver — were each jailed for two years on Monday for concealment of evidence for helping to cover up the murder.

Vannak was expelled from the ruling Cambodian People’s Party following his 2018 arrest. Sovathana was a CPP youth group member and National Assembly staffer.

Late last month, the former governor maintained his innocence outside the municipal courtroom after his sentencing was delayed.

At that time, Vannak swore on the lives of his family that he was innocent.

“I still strongly state that I am a clean person and I still keep my oath which was taken in front of the court,” Vannak told reporters.

“If I had killed Sovathana, may my family die, be destroyed and fall to the nine circles of hell and not be reborn forever.”

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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