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Workers Remember Slain Labor Activist Chea Vichea

A Cambodian worker gives a signature on a poster of Chea Vichea during the 11th anniversary of the assassination of Chea Vichea, former head of Cambodia's Free Trade Union of Workers, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Chea Vichea was killed on January 22, 2004, while he was buying his morning newspaper.

Unionists and family members of slain labor activist Chea Vichea, who was gunned down in 2004, will gather in late January to pay their respects to the late labor advocate.

Vichea was killed on January 22, 2004, while he was buying his morning newspaper.

Two suspects, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, were charged with the murder. The duo, who were widely believed to be unconnected to the murder, faced several years in jail before being released in September 2013.

Organizers of the gathering expect some 150 people to show up.

Meng Senghak, one of the organizers, said they would repeat calls for justice in Vichea’s case.

“We will pay our respects as usual, but we will also call on the government to speed up the investigation process because it has been 14 years,” he said.

Gen. Khieu Sopheak, an interior ministry spokesman, said the investigation had determined that witnesses had fled the country, and therefore, there were no further leads.

As the remembrance ceremony gets underway, Vichea’s brother, Chea Mony, will appear in court for making calls on the European Union to apply pressure on Cambodia through restrictions on textiles imports.

Pro-government unionists filed a complaint against Mony last month for the comments, which he made during an interview with Radio Free Asia.

Mony could not be reached on Tuesday.

Mann Senghak, however, said Mony had stated a personal opinion during the radio show and had not influenced the EU decision-making.

“It was just a personal opinion,” Senghak told VOA Khmer on Tuesday. “Putting pressure on Cambodia export products or not, it is in the power of the EU’s members states alone.”