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Human rights activist says assailant threatened his life

Human rights activist says assailant threatened his life

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Heang Rithy says his criticism of government policies and senior leaders could have led to the incident last week in Phnom Penh

TRACEY SHELTON

Heang Rithy, who was threatened by an unidentified assailant last week, in his office in Phnom Penh on Sunday.

A CAMBODIAN human rights activist has filed a formal complaint with the government  that an unidentified assailant threatened to kill him and his adviser while they were driving to their offices last week.

Heang Rithy, president of the Cambodian National Research Organization and the Committee for Strict Law Enforcement for Human Rights in Cambodia, said the incident happened while he was driving to his office on September 25 at about 10:20pm.

"A man drove his car against the traffic and pulled in front of my car. He told me to get out and then said he would shoot me and my adviser," Heang Ritthy told the Post Sunday.

In a formal complaint filed with Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, Heang Rithy said the unidentified man drove a black Toyota Hilux Vigo with Royal Cambodian Air Force tags and the plate number 2-9916.

The incident occurred on Street 488 in Phsa Deumthov commune in Phnom Penh, according to the complaint.

Heang Rithy said he called the chief of the municipal military police for assistance during the incident. Ten minutes later, the commander of military police arrived with two other armed soldiers.

The assailant fled as soon as police arrived, the complaint states, and he remains at large.

Heang Rithy said he has never received such threats before and that the incident may be the result of criticisms he has made against government activities or specific high-ranking officials.

"I criticise the government when they fail to meet the needs of the people. I draw attention to injustice in society. I've even complained about Tep Vong, the head of Cambodia's monks, for his involvement in the 2003 elections, and Sam Rainsy, who I called ignorant," he said.

"I criticise because I want a better society that seeks justice for all people," he said.

Ya Kim I, commander of Phnom Penh's municipal military police, could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Touch Naroth, chief of municipal police, told the Post he did not know the details of the incident and had not yet received Heang Rithy's complaint.

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