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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Slain unionist remembered

Slain unionist remembered

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On the eighth ann-iversary of union leader Chea Vich-ea’s death, civil society and opposition party representatives called for the government to find and charge his true killers.

Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
Chea Mony, the brother of slain former Free Trade Union president Chea Vichea, places incense next to a photograph of his brother yesterday during a ceremony to mark the 8th anniversary of his death.

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian Mu Sochua, who attended a ceremony for the slain leader at Wat Lanka in Phnom Penh, said the killers of Chea Vichea were still at large.

She said she had delivered evidence, in the form of the banned documentary Who Killed Chea Vichea? to the Interior Ministry to encourage it to re-investigate the case.

“This documentary is enough [to find murderers],” she said. “Those murderers can stand here and listen to us talk today — people who were involved can stand right near us.”

About 100 people attended the memorial near the newsstand where Chea Vichea was killed in a shooting by two men on a motodop in 2004.

Chea Vichea’s brother, Chea Mony, who has assumed his brother’s position as Free Trade Union president, also called on the government to find his brother’s real murderers.

“Just because the government has not yet closed the case does not mean it can delay for 15 years  more,” Chea Mony said.

The two men accused of the murder of Chea Vichea are widely believed to be innocent, including by Chea Mony, who said he continued to “wait to find the real murderers”.

Chea Vichea’s friend Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, said yesterday he continued to suspect that high-ranking government officials orchestrated the assassination.

Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said the ministry could not re-open the investigation into the murder because the case was still tied up in the judicial system.

“The suspects in this case have been temporarily released, so they cannot be officially acquitted at this time,” he said.

“If the court decides to acquit because these suspects are not the right people,  we will re-open an investigation.”

Khieu Sopheak also condemned Mu Sochua’s distribution of Who Killed Chea Vichea? and called people who accused high-ranking officials of any wrongdoing “cowards”.

“If you are brave, tell us who the high-ranking officials are,” he said. “You have defamed these officials, you must say who they are if you have the documents to prove it.”

Acting SRP president Kong Korm said the party had don-ated one million riel (about US$2,500) toward the construction of a Chea Vichea memorial, approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen last month.

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