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Union leader threatens massive strike

Prominent union leader Chea Mony has issued an ultimatum to the government to find his brother’s murderers within one year or face massive union strikes.

Chea Mony, Free Trade Union president and brother of slain union leader Chea Vichea, issued the edict on Saturday, the anniversary of his brother’s murder.

Chea Vichea was gunned down on January 22, 2004, near Wat Langka in Phnom Penh.

Two men were arrested and imprisoned for the killing but their convictions were overturned in 2009.

“We can give the government one more year to find ... the murderers [of Chea Vichea],” Chea Mony said.

“If the government cannot find them, I will call a massive strike.”

He challenged the government to arrest the real perpetrators and not delay the case by arresting people unassociated with the crime.

Talking to more than 200 people at a ceremony commemorating the union leader’s death, Chea Mony called for the government to stop killing political adversaries and choose peaceful negotiation instead.

“Stop ending their lives by the barrel [of a gun]. The country has rule of law and [they] must not shoot anyone but resolve [conflict] with peaceful actions,” Chea Mony said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, questioned whether the time it has taken the government to find Chea Vichea’s killer was indicative of an inability to investigate the murder or the involvement of high ranking officials.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, would not provide detailed comment today, but said Chea Mony should not issue ultimatums to the government as the murder investigation was still ongoing.

He further warned Chea Mony would face charges if he interfered with national security.

“What we do, we do lawfully. You can exercise your rights but the government warns in this case, you must be careful of abiding by the law and national security,” Khieu Sopheak said.

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