The government reiterated on Sunday its intention to sue the brother of murdered trade union leader Chea Vichea for claiming the authorities were behind the killing, but admitted it has yet to notify him officially.
Chea Mony, president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia, made the remarks at the Appeal Court on August 17. The court had ordered further investigations into the case following requests from the defence lawyers of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun, the two men convicted of Chea Vichea's shooting in 2004.
"I maintain my stance from the beginning and acknowledge that [Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun] were fake killers, and I urge the court to find the real killers," he said at the time. "I am ready to take responsibility and dare to be imprisoned for my conclusion about my brother's case, which is that the government prepared a plan to kill my brother."
Khiev Sophak, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said Sunday that the government intends to use the full force of the law against Chea Mony, although it has yet to notify him of its intentions.
"We haven't sued Chea Mony yet, but our ministry reserves our rights to lodge a complaint against him, without scheduling a specific time, because his criticism of our government was very serious," he said.
Speaking to the Post, Chea Mony said Sunday that he had yet to receive any formal notification of the threatened lawsuit.
"I haven't received any official information from the government about preparing to sue me," he said, stating his continued belief that the authorities were responsible for his brother's killing. "I only know about the threat of a lawsuit because I read about it in several newspapers."
The Cambodian Supreme Court released the two men convicted of murdering the outspoken union leader in December last year, sending their case to the Appeal Court for further investigation pending a retrial and citing contradictory evidence in the prior trials.
I only know about the threatened lawsuit because I read it in the papers
The two men had been in prison for nearly five years of their 20-year sentences, but were freed on provisional release pending their retrial.
Cambodian and international human rights groups that said the pair were used as scapegoats.
In a statement dated August 21, the Free Trade Union renewed its appeal for the judiciary to find and prosecute the real killers. It said the case should be reinvestigated in order to secure justice not just for the victim, but also his family and the two accused, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. The statement condemned the culture of impunity that, it said, was gaining increasing hold in a state where the law is used to silence political dissent.