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Chevron to hand over Kem Ley files

Police officials investigate the crime scene where political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead at a Caltex service station in Phnom Penh last year.
Police officials investigate the crime scene where political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead at a Caltex service station in Phnom Penh last year. Hong Menea

Chevron to hand over Kem Ley files

Petroleum giant Chevron has agreed to hand over files that could relate to the murder of analyst Kem Ley at one of the company’s Caltex stations, after a United States district court ordered a search of terms such as “assassin!” and “Hun Sen”.

The news follows a months-long fight, launched by ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy and plaintiffs at the International Criminal Court, to secure records they believe could indicate government involvement in Ley’s killing and absolve Rainsy of a defamation conviction.

In a statement yesterday, Chevron confirmed it had agreed upon a “framework for the search and production of relevant documents, to the extent any may be found, relating to the incident”. It is required to submit its findings by August 25.

According to an order released by the Northern District of California Court on Friday, the company must hand over any documents and electronic communications used by two managers tasked with visiting the scene of the crime.

It also requires information about country managers who may have communicated about Ley’s killing with any Cambodian government officials or agents.

In a sweep of electronic data from July 1 to December 31 in 2016, the company must search the terms “Kem”, “Ley”, “Hun Sen”, “Cambodia”, “Phnom”, “Bokor”, “Caltex”, “Monivong”, as well as “assassin!” “kill!” “shoot!”, “death” and “victim”. The search would also include “CCP” – a misspelling of the acronym for the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

Rainsy yesterday welcomed the move, saying in an email it would “help change the course of justice in Cambodia relative to Dr. Kem Ley’s murder”.

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