The committee in charge of constructing a shrine for political analyst Kem Ley, who was shot dead in Phnom Penh in July, held a ceremony yesterday asking the deities protecting Ley’s Takeo gravesite for permission to build a shrine there.
According to Sao Kosal, a spokesman for the committee, the proposed shrine will cost up to $200,000, a sum that must be acquired through donations.
Formal construction of the shrine’s foundation will begin on May 1, Kosal said, calling on people both abroad and domestically to donate so the shrine can be completed on time.
“The project costs around $170,000, and right now we have around $6,000,” Kosal said. “If we have enough money, the construction will be complete in eight to 10 months.”
The elevated price is due to the choice of natural stone over brick, Kosal explained, adding that the shrine will be constructed by hand so as not to disturb the grave.
Kosal called on those who loved Ley to continue seeking justice for his murder. The trial of former soldier Oeut Ang, who claims he shot Ley in broad daylight over a $3,000 debt, was heard last week. But the murder is widely believed politically motivated, and few believe Ang’s version of the story.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Leang Samnath said the verdict will be declared on March 23.