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Union Calls on Police to Reopen Chea Vichea Murder Case

Members of a prominent trade union commemorated the murder of its leader in 2004 by calling on police Tuesday to re-investigate and bring the true perpetrators to justice.

Chea Vichea, leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers in the Kingdom of Cambodia, was gunned down Jan. 22, 2004, near a Phnom Penh market.

Two men convicted of his murder are widely considered innocent. Free Trade President Chea Mony, brother of Chea Vichea, and other workers and activists laid a wreath at the site of the murder Tuesday and called on police to re-investigate the killing, to free the two jailed men and find the murderers and those who hired them.

"Today, we… want to appeal to the government and the courts to re-open the investigation of the murderer who gunned down Chea Vichea on Jan. 22, 2004, and we dismiss Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun as Chea Vichea's killers," Chea Mony said.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy also attended the ceremony, held near Wat Langka.

"We would like for the government to find the real killer who gunned Chea Vichea down, and those behind the perpetrator, to find and arrest them and bring them to justice," Sam Rainsy said.

Human Rights Party Vice President Keo Remy said the slain leader would earn an honorary title if the party were to win elections in July. He also promised a statue in Chea Vichea's honor if the party were to win a majority of seats in the National Assembly.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said Tuesday police had done their work well and had sent their investigation to the courts, which found Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun guilty.

Licadho founder Kek Galabru prayed "to the angels" for Chea Vichea and other slain labor leaders, and for the release of the Born Samnang and Sok Samoeun, both of whom are now serving 20-year sentences.