The Cambodian People’s Party has demanded that self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy provide evidence to back up his claims that the government was behind the recent murder of political analyst and grassroots organiser Kem Ley.
Following Ley’s murder at a Phnom Penh petrol station on July 10, the CNRP president labelled the killing an assassination and “another act of state terrorism” in a Facebook posted just hours after the incident.
“Because he apparently represented a political danger for the other side, the latter hired a hitman to assassinate him as they had, in the recent past, hired hitmen to assassinate Chea Vichea and Chhut Vuthy,” he said in a post referring to the government.
CPP spokesman Sok Eysan said yesterday that Rainsy needed to take accountability for his statement and should provide evidence that the government was involved in the murder.
“Let him prove if he has any evidence or not,” Eysan said. “[We] can’t let him say this without taking responsibility.” Eysan added that if Rainsy was unable to back up his claims then the party would consider taking legal action for slander and defamation.
Reacting to Eysan’s demand, Rainsy dismissed the threat, saying he dared the government to take its case to French courts, as has been done in the past by Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong.
“As for me, I am not going to waste my time trying to defend myself before their Kangaroo court [in Cambodia],” he said in an email yesterday.
He added that if he had to appear before court, he would show that Ley’s death followed a similar pattern of previous “political assassinations”, including a 1997 grenade attack “where he nearly died”.
“All these assassinations are definitely acts of state-sponsored terrorism,” he said.
Regarding ruling party allegations that the CNRP was using the murder for its own political gain, Rainsy said it was “ridiculous” and wholly unnecessary.
“We have enough strong and legitimate arguments to support our fight for democracy in Cambodia,” he said.