Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy moved one step closer to procuring video footage he hopes will help prove government involvement in Kem Ley’s assassination, while one political commentator may be facing a lawsuit for comments suggesting as much.
“A North California District Court has granted the right to subpoena the US company Chevron for video footage of the shooting of Dr. Kem Ley,” Rainsy wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.
On July 10, Ley was gunned down in a Chevron-owned Caltex in a murder widely seen as politically motivated. Thus far, Caltex has only given the footage to the Cambodian government.
Rainsy has long maintained that the government was involved in Ley’s death, a stance that earned him a defamation charge from Prime Minster Hun Sen.
US judge Donna Ryu issued the decision on Thursday, writing that Rainsy “may serve a finalised version of the subpoena” to Chevron, which demands that the US oil giant release two weeks’ worth of video recordings, among other documents.
Chevron will have 30 days to contest the subpoena once it has been served. But Buntenh, an activist monk who has long demanded the video’s release, said the court ruling was “the right decision”.
“The killing of Kem Ley was not by chance. There may be other people involved and hidden agendas that the government doesn’t want us to know,” he said.
Political analyst Ou Virak, however, said he expects Chevron to ultimately avoid releasing the footage.
“They don’t want to be on the wrong side of the people who have power,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hun Sen vowed to file a complaint against political analyst Kim Sok over comments made about Ley’s death on Radio Free Asia Khmer on Saturday.
“All along they have tried to destroy the CNRP, they have killed people, and the latest person killed was Kem Ley, but still the people protest,” Sok said in a seeming reference to the CPP.
Ky Tech, Hun Sen’s lawyer, told The Post yesterday that he plans to file the suit today.
“[Sok] intentionally framed the CPP and used the words ‘killed Kem Ley’,” Tech said.
Yesterday, Sok clarified his comments. “I was not accusing anyone . . . I meant that the CPP has to take responsibility if there is a murder and no justice,” he said.
Virak said the lawsuit against his peer will have a “chilling effect” on free speech in Cambodia and was evidence that Cambodia “is not a true liberal democracy”.