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Calls for state holiday to mark Kem Ley’s murder

Mourners surround a car containing the body of slain political analyst Kem Ley as it drives through Phnom Penh following his murder last month.
Mourners surround a car containing the body of slain political analyst Kem Ley as it drives through Phnom Penh following his murder last month. Heng Chivoan

Calls for state holiday to mark Kem Ley’s murder

The Grassroots Democracy Party is planning to request that the anniversary of Kem Ley’s murder be made a national holiday called Freedom of Expression Day.

Ley, a political analyst who co-founded the party established on August 2 last year, was shot dead on July 10 in what many have termed an assassination.

“If the government denies it, we will declare July 10 as [such] when we have the state power, because many Cambodian people consider [Ley] a legend of freedom of expression because he dared to say the truth,” party director Yeng Virak said yesterday, adding that he planned to file documents for the request this week.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said though Ley was popular, he could not be considered a hero. “Has Kem Ley received any honourable position from the royal decree yet? No, he has not,” he said.

Transparency International Cambodia executive director Preap Kol said the day should be recognised to remind people of Ley’s actions for the country.

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