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24 Rights Groups Renew Call For More Investigation into Killing of Political Commentator


In this Nov. 20, 2016 photo, a girl stands by a portrait of Kem Ley, a Cambodian prominent political analyst, at his grave in Ang Takok, Cambodia. (AP Photo/Denis Gray)

In 2016, Kem Ley was shot dead at a gas station in Phnom Penh following his comments in a Global Witness report alleging corruption relating to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family.

On the eve of the third anniversary of the assassination of political analyst Kem Ley, twenty-four major local and international rights groups have urged the Cambodian government “to establish an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry to conduct a thorough and effective investigation into his killing.”

In a joint statement on Tuesday by several national and international human rights organizations—including Licadho, Adhoc, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch— the groups found “irregularities” in the previous investigation and the trial of the accused person.

Kem Ley was shot dead on July 10, 2016, at a gas station in Phnom Penh following his comments in a Global Witness report, alleging corruption relating to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s family. Oeuth Ang, alias Choub Samlab was arrested and sentenced to life for the killing.

“The farcical trial of Oeuth Ang fell far short of international fair trial standards and raised more questions than answers about who was really behind the killing of a respected political analyst who dared to harshly criticize Prime Minister Hun Sen,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director at Human Rights Watch in the joint statement.

Am Sam Ath, a monitoring supervisor for the local human rights group Licadho told VOA Khmer on Tuesday that there are many doubts behind the killing of Kem Ley.

“We have seen the assassination of Dr. Kem Ley as a [renewed] murder against human rights defender,” he said.

“Therefore, we, on behalf of the civil organizations, demand the formation of an independent commission to further the investigation to uncover those involved and those [hiding] behind and bring them to stand trial,” he added.

Gen. Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said that the case of Kem Ley’s assassination is divided into two parts, including the trial of the accused person, Choub Samlab, and the investigation into those who are the mastermind of Kem Ley’s murder.

“For Choub Samlab, it’s done, meaning he is the real killer,” said Khieu Sopheak, adding that the investigating judge “is working attentively on” who is behind the killing of Kem Ley.

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