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Pressure on for Kem Ley inquiry

May Titthara / Khmer Times Share:
NGOs say international experts should investigate the murder of popular analyst Kem Ley. KT/May Titthara

A group of NGOs and supporters of Kem Ley have again urged the government to allow an international investigation team to join official inquiries into his murder.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator for rights group Licadho, said the government should reinvestigate the case to provide justice for the victim’s family.

People will keep mistrusting the court system if the case is not reopened fully, he said.

Eurth Ang was jailed for life in March after confessing to gunning down Mr Ley. He was found guilty of premeditated murder and of carrying or transporting a weapon without authorisation.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court split the case into two, with the second part aimed at investigating who introduced the killer to Mr Ley and how he obtained a Glock pistol.

Mr Sam Ath yesterday spoke at the Caltex petrol station on the corner of Monivong and Mao Tse Toung boulevards where Mr Ley was gunned down on July 10 last year.

“We ask the government to conduct an independent investigation into the case, especially to allow an international investigation team to join the government for transparency,” Mr Sam Ath said.

“Millions of Cambodian eyes are waiting to see justice.”

He said letting an international team join the investigation did not mean interfering in government officials’ jobs but would show the transparency of the investigation.

“Allowing an international team to join government officers would show the willingness of the government to investigate the case, make people believe in the court system and help find true justice for Mr Ley,” he said.

Sar Mora, president of the Cambodian Food and Service Workers Federation, said Mr Ley was missed and respected.

“We still remember him and all Cambodian citizens remember what he did for Cambodian society,” Mr Mora said.

Theng Savoeun, general secretary of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmers Community, recalled how his group worked closely with Mr Ley.

Mr Savoeun said he would like to ask the government to keep an open mind on allowing an international investigation team to work with government officials on a second inquiry into the crime.

Mr Ang claimed he murdered Mr Ley for taking $3,000 from him and promising to build him a home worth $20,000, as well as give him a job. He said Mr Ley did not follow through on his promise.

On Friday, 164 NGOs and associations sent an open letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng requesting further investigation into the murder since the court split the case in April.

Kim Santepheap, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said the case must be conducted according to the law and is already under the jurisdiction of the court.

“The proceedings of the judicial investigation can not be made public because it affects the secrecy of the investigation,” he said.

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