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Commune candidate and wife slain

Commune candidate and wife slain

A KAMPOT farmer and his wife have been shot dead in what a human rights group believes

was a political killing connected with his candidacy for the commune elections.

Prak Choeun, 60, and his wife Doung Meas, 58, were shot in the head by an AK-47 as

they rested in a hut next to their rice field at 7.30pm on June 3.

Ye Kosalvathanak, head of human rights group Adhoc's investigating section, said

the evidence pointed to a political assassination.

He said Choeun was respected in the area, had not been in any disputes or behaved

in a way that would provoke such a reaction, and the killings were not connected

with robbery.

The only new factor in Choeun's life was that he had recently been named the Funcinpec

candidate for the commune elections.

Sao Ngin, Funcinpec National Assembly member for Kampot, confirmed that Choeun had

been active in the party since 1993. He believed it likely the killings were politically

motivated.

"In our country the tradition in rural areas is to try to intimidate candidates

who want to stand for your position."

Tol Loh, Funcinpec General Secretary, said he had ordered the provincial governor,

Ly Sour, to investigate.

Ly Sour said he would not form a conclusion about motive till inquiries were complete,

but the commune chief had said Choeun was a peaceable man, and neighbors had told

him Choeun was popular and well liked.

Kosalvathanak said the victims' six children were living in fear of their lives and

wanted to flee the village.

Sao Ngin said he had filed a complaint to Prince Norodom Ranariddh in his role as

head of the National Assembly on behalf of the family.

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