Vannak Remains Imprisoned Despite Promise of Amnesty

Former Khmer Nation Party Security Chief Srun Von Vannak has yet to be released from prison, two months after Second Prime Hun Sen vowed to seek a royal amnesty immediately.

Hun Sen said in early January that he would seek a pardon from King Norodom Sihanouk for Vannak, who was convicted last September of ordering the assassination of Hun Sen’s brother-in-law.

Former KNP President Sam Rainsy, who now heads the Sam Rainsy Party, argued from the beginning that Vannak had been framed to discredit Rainsy himself. The pardon deal came after Hun Sen and Rainsy met in December for the first time in nearly three years in an effort to reduce the hostility between the two.

Sam Rainsy said Thursday that he has written Hun Sen to remind him about his pledge to seek an amnesty for Vannak, but so far to no avail.

“I wrote a letter to Mr Hun Sen individually, not politically, on Feb 23 to remind him of his promise,” Rainsy said. “Until now, there has been neither news about the release nor the request for the amnesty.”

“Hun Sen should think about the humanitarian aspect, and do a good deed to let Vannak have his family reunion,” Sam Rainsy said.

Om Yentieng, Hun Sen’s adviser, said Thursday that Hun Sen hasn’t ignored Sam Rainsy. He said Hun Sen responded to Sam Rainsy’s letter, but he declined to elaborate on the nature of the response.

More recently, Hun Sen “wrote to me asking what step the court has reached,” Om Yentieng said. “We cannot do this out of the law.” It was not immediately clear what action the court must take.

Despite their amicable meeting in January, tensions have increased between Sam Rainsy and Hun Sen.

Sam Rainsy has filed three lawsuits on behalf of the widows of Funcinpec military officials killed after the factional fighting in July, accusing the second prime minister of murder.

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