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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - MoI says Kem Ley murder probe slowed by ‘stubborn suspect’

Phnom Penh police stand next to Oeut Ang, the alleged murderer of political analyst Kem Ley, after he was arrested last month. Photo supplied
Phnom Penh police stand next to Oeut Ang, the alleged murderer of political analyst Kem Ley, after he was arrested last month. Photo supplied

MoI says Kem Ley murder probe slowed by ‘stubborn suspect’

The Ministry of Interior yesterday blamed the lack of progress in the investigation into the murder of political analyst Kem Ley on the reluctance of chief suspect “Choub Samlab”, suggesting former Khmer Rouge torture chief Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, might be able to loosen his tongue.

More than a month has passed since the high-profile killing, allegedly committed by Oeut Ang, who identified himself by the alias translating to “meet to kill”.

Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said no other suspects had been arrested.

“I hope the court will hold the trial very soon and it is a public trial,” Sopheak said. “Samdech [Sar Kheng] did not believe his name was really Choub Samlab. There is no parent who would name their child Choub Samlab.

“[He] did not confess and was stubborn, because, from what I understand, our law cannot do anything to him unless we do it in a peaceful way. What I understand is, if we call in Comrade Duch, he would make a confession.”

At least 12,000 people lost their lives at the S-21 prison under Duch’s command, with many subjected to torture to extract confessions.

Political analyst Ou Virak said the jibe was “not appropriate”.

“We have got to take the case seriously. This is a killing and the family deserves justice,” he said. “They need to build transparency that is lacking now. I think most people do not have confidence in the investigation.”

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