Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Slain Cambodian union leader remembered amid rights crackdown

Slain Cambodian union leader remembered amid rights crackdown

Cambodian rights groups demanded a review of guilty verdicts against two men convicted of killing union president Chea Vichea, as more than 100 people marched to commemorate his assassination.

Chea Vichea, who was head of the opposition-linked Free Trade Union of the Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, was gunned down at a Phnom Penh food stall two years ago.

Two men, Born Samnang, 23, and Sok Sam Oeun, 36, were arrested just days after the daylight shooting and convicted of murder, but Cambodian and international activists insist the real killers remain at large.

"Certainly, they are not the ones who ordered the killing,"
said Ou Virak, general secretary of the Alliance for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia.

"We demand a proper review of this court judgment, and further investigations by Cambodian authorities until the real culprits are caught and punished."

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court dismissed the charges against the men in March 2004, but the decision was overruled, the judge transferred and the case sent to the Court of Appeal.


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