WASHINGTON DC —
A U.S. court has extended the deadline for oil giant Chevron to appeal a court decision ordering it to release security camera footage from the gas station in Phnom Penh where Cambodian political analyst Kem Ley was killed last year.
The order, signed by Judge Donna M. Ryu last week, noted the extension was granted due to ongoing negotiations between Chevron and lawyers for former Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who filed the case.
“The parties believe that further discussions and negotiations may succeed in resolving the matter and may avoid the need for intervention by the court,” the order, which extends the deadline until the end of March, states.
The initial deadline was March 13.
Rainsy intends to use the video footage in a Cambodia court where he is being tried for defamation in a case filed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Hun Sen alleged that Rainsy defamed him by insinuating that the premier was responsible for the killing at the gas station owned by Cambodian firm Caltex, a Chevron subsidiary.
Despite Rainsy’s request for a delay in proceedings until the U.S. case was resolved, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week moved ahead with a scheduled hearing, which Rainsy did not attend as he is currently living in exile in France.
One suspect, Oeut Ang, was put on trial for Ley’s murder on March 1. He claims to have killed Ley over a $3,000 debt, but the killing is widely believed to have been a political assassination.
An edited version of the security camera footage sought by Rainsy was played during Ang’s hearing, causing many to question events further due to a number of inconsistencies in the video.