The widow of slain political analyst Kem Ley is again attacking a political party founded in his name, this time taking specific aim at Kuch Ly, its vice president.
The Kem Ley Party – which will likely have to change its name after the Interior Ministry warned it breached newly-created laws that forbid a party to be named after an individual – was formed late last month and is expected to contest this year’s fraught national elections.
From Australia, where she was granted asylum, Ley’s widow Bou Rachana urged voters not to support the party after Ly gave an interview to VOA in which he claimed to be a former senior Cambodia National Rescue Party figure in France and alleged that independent media watchdog Pa Nguon Teang, activist monk But Buntenh and labour rights advocate Moeun Tola had destroyed Ly’s reputation.
Writing on Facebook, Rachana countered that Kuch Ly "is the person who is ordered to destroy the reputation and prestige of my husband, and to destroy the good points of people who support my family, particularly But Buntenh, Pa Nguon Teang [and] Moeun Tola”.
The trio are embroiled in a lawsuit filed by a litigious minor political figure claiming they embezzled funds meant for Ley’s funeral. Ley’s widow, his sister-in-law and his brother – Kem Rithisith, the founder of the Kem Ley Party – have all denied the accusations in the past, though Rithisith has waffled in his support of the lawsuit.
Former CNRP lawmaker Long Botta, who holds French citizenship and is currently in France, claimed Ly was lying and found no record of him having been a member of the CNRP.
Ly, who has posted selfies with one-time CNRP leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, as well as a photo of himself in front of the Eiffel Tower, declined to respond to Rachana’s and Botta’s comments, and said lawyers were working on the party’s name issue.
“We need to have a lawyer to protect us, because the party is a sensitive party,” he said.