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Court calls on widow of Kem Ley to appear

Kem Ley’s wife, Bou Rachana, weeps outside the CalTex Star shop in Phnom Penh where her husband was shot in July.
Kem Ley’s wife, Bou Rachana, weeps outside the CalTex Star shop in Phnom Penh where her husband was shot in July. Hong Menea

Court calls on widow of Kem Ley to appear

Bou Rachana, widow of murdered political activist Kem Ley, has been issued a summons to testify as a civil party, despite sources claiming she never filed a complaint.

The summons – the second issued since Rachana fled the country following her husband’s murder – was issued on Tuesday, just days after Rachana gave birth to a son in self-imposed exile.

“We invite Bou Rachana, 34, the plaintiff to enter for interrogation of the intentional murder and illegal weapons possession,” reads the summons signed by Judge Seng Leang. It requests that she testify in court on October 17.

Ley was gunned down at a capital petrol station on July 9 in an attack that is widely seen as politically motivated.

Shortly after the murder, police apprehended 44-year-old Oeut Ang who claimed he shot Ley over an alleged debt.

His pregnant wife and four children fled the country fearing for their safety two months later.

Yesterday, Prince Sisowath Thomico and rights activist Moeun Tola, who has previously offered the family legal counsel, both said Rachana had never filed an official complaint.

“She won’t be coming home any time soon,” the prince added.

Activist monk But Buntenh, a member of Ley’s funeral committee, called the summons “nonsense” while legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said the case was “strange” and claimed he had never seen a summons issued to a civil party that did not make a complaint.

Contacted yesterday, Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana would say only that the court had followed “proper procedure”.

Meanwhile, Phnom Penh’s City Hall has nixed plans to hold a Buddhist 100-day ceremony for Ley at the Botum Vatey pagoda in the capital’s Wat Botum park.

A letter signed by Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng on Tuesday and made public yesterday suggests the ceremony be held in Ley’s home province of Takeo instead.

Sreng told the Post the area is not for funerals and warned of legal action should it be held there.

“If we do not allow them to do and they continue to do it, we will follow the law as well. I am the municipal deputy governor, I will not allow that to happen,” Sreng said.

Funeral committee member Pa Nguon Teang yesterday said they plan to hold the ceremony at Botum Vatey pagoda all the same.

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