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No Information from Investigative Committee on January Labor Protest Killings

  • Kong Sothanarith
  • VOA Khmer

A protester is detained during an attempt to deliver a petition, near the French embassy, in Phnom Penh January 21, 2014. Eleven protesters, including Cambodian activists Yorm Bopha and Tep Vanny, were detained while trying to deliver petitions to foreign embassies in Phnom Penh, calling for help in securing the release of 23 men who were jailed for joining a strike earlier this month over garment factory wages, according to local rights groups.

A protester is detained during an attempt to deliver a petition, near the French embassy, in Phnom Penh January 21, 2014. Eleven protesters, including Cambodian activists Yorm Bopha and Tep Vanny, were detained while trying to deliver petitions to foreign embassies in Phnom Penh, calling for help in securing the release of 23 men who were jailed for joining a strike earlier this month over garment factory wages, according to local rights groups.

A governmental investigative committee met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday to discuss their probe into the deadly shootings of labor protesters last month.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who is leading the committee, confirmed the meeting, but said he could not disclose details.

At least four people were killed and dozens injured in the Jan. 3 incident, where police fired into a crowd of demonstrators who had grown increasingly violent.

Police spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the investigative committee will issue a public report, but the date of release has not been announced.

The crackdowns have been widely condemned, but no perpetrators have been arrested or reprimanded.

Violent crackdowns on demonstrations are hurting Cambodians’ freedom of expression and assembly, leading the country toward more authoritarian rule, political analyst Lao Mong Hay, told “Hello VOA” Thursday.

The crackdowns so far have “no limitation, no legal basis and not reason enough,” he said. “If they want to crack down, first they have to make a clear announcement about the reasoning, which rights are to be suspended—and actually they have to announce a state of emergency.”
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