Prominent rights group Central has offered the family of slain political activist Kem Ley legal assistance if they decide to file a civil suit for damages against his alleged killer, though the family says they have yet to decide on filing a complaint.
Five weeks after Ley was gunned down in Phnom Penh, labour rights group Central said they would assist the family in filing a case against Ley’s killer, Oeut Ang, and “others involved in the killing”, according to the group’s executive director, Moeun Tola.
“If the family needs to file a complaint, we are willing to provide legal assistance,” he added.
Tola said the filing of a civil case could also help push the government’s criminal investigation into the Ley’s death – which has seen little public advancement since Ang offered a short confession on the day of the murder.
However, Ley’s sister-in-law, Bou Imolyta, said that the family’s priority was to keep Ley’s wife and children safe, and that they hadn’t decided on filing a complaint.
Meanwhile, in the wake of a request by Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Ou Chanrith to erect a statue of Ley at Freedom Park in the capital, the Cambodia Veterans Association (CVA) has come out in opposition to the idea, saying the activist, who drew scores of thousands to the streets for his funeral, was a “normal citizen” and not a “hero”.
CVA’s secretary-general, Kun Kim, used the group’s Facebook page to say Ley’s activism paled in comparison to soldiers’ on the frontlines who “sacrifice their lives, flesh and blood for the country”.