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As Supporters Prepare to Remember Slain Government Critic, Court Calls Widow for Questioning


FILE - Photos of analyst Kem Ley are placed at his funeral ceremony at a Buddhist pagoda Wat Kdei Chas, in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, on Monday, July 11, 2016. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

FILE - Photos of analyst Kem Ley are placed at his funeral ceremony at a Buddhist pagoda Wat Kdei Chas, in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, on Monday, July 11, 2016. (Hean Socheata/VOA Khmer)

Kem Ley was gunned down on July 10 at a gas station in the capital. One suspect has since been arrested and charged with pre-meditated murder.

Supporters of slain political commentator Kem Ley have said they will press ahead with a planned remembrance ceremony to mark 100 days since the killing.

The ceremony, which will be held in Phnom Penh’s Wat Chas pagoda, where Ley’s funeral took place, is expected to draw hundreds of Cambodians at a time when political tensions in the country are high.

Ley was an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party and occasionally the country’s main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party.​

He was gunned down on July 10 at a gas station in the capital. One suspect has since been arrested and charged with pre-meditated murder.

Pa Nguon Tieng, a member of the group organizing the ceremony, said the location was chosen after permission was granted by members of the Buddhist order, but that the municipal authorities had denied their request.

Mean Chanyada, a spokesman for City Hall, questioned the legitimacy of holding such a prolonged ceremony outside of a private residence.

Following the ceremony, which will be held from October 14 – 16, a statue of Ley will be paraded through the capital.

Meanwhile, a judge investigating the murder issued a second subpoena for Ley’s widow, Bou Rachana, calling her in for questioning in the case on October 17.

However, Rachana is believed to have fled the country with her children following the shooting and has sought asylum. She could not be reached for comment.

Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor with local rights group Licadho, questioned why the court had taken so long to call the main plaintiff in the case. “It should summon her immediately after the killing,” he said.

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