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Asia-Pacific
Cambodia fighters jailed for murder
Court convicts four men of murdering a UK charity worker and his translator.
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2008 21:58 GMT
Four of the five men were jailed
for up to 20 years [AFP]

A Cambodian court has sentence four former Khmer Rouge fighters to up to 20 years in prison for the kidnapping and murder of a British mine clearance worker and his translator, killed in 1996.

Three of the five accused were jailed for 20 years, a fourth for 10 years, while the fifth man was acquitted by the court in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.

Christopher Howes, the murdered British charity worker, and his translator Huon Huot were shot a few days after they were seized near the famed Angkor Wat temples in northwest Cambodia.

At the time the Khmer Rouge were battling government troops towards the end of Cambodia's civil war.

Their remains were found in 1998, the same year Cambodia's civil war ended when the Khmer Rouge movement disintegrated.

'Brutal murder'

All five of the men sentence on Tuesday - Khem Ngun, Puth Lim, Loch Mao, Sin Dorn and Cheap Chet - were arrested over the past year, nearly a decade after a joint investigation into the incident by British and Cambodian police.

Khem Ngun, Puth Lim and Loch Mao, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Sin Dorn was jailed for 10 years.

Iv Kim Sri, the presiding judge, also ordered the men jointly to pay $10,000 to the families of the victims.

The British government and the Mines Advisory Group charity, for which the two dead men worked, welcomed the verdict, saying their families were "extremely satisfied with today's outcome".

"Today, we feel that justice has been done for our two colleagues who were brutally murdered whilst carrying out life-saving work," Lou McGrath, a Mines Advisory Group executive, said in a statement issued at the court.

Bill Rammell, a UK junior foreign minister, said: "I welcome the guilty verdicts and sentences handed down  today by a Cambodian court in the trial of those responsible. The verdict brings to an end 12 years of uncertainty for their families."

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