Two people who were arrested separately on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning remain in detention accused of inciting crime and disorder after they marked the third anniversary of the death of slain political analyst Kem Ley.
Phnom Penh municipal authorities arrested Kung Reiya, a former activist for the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, and three of his family members on Tuesday night. But the family members were later released.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Meth Meas Pheakdey told The Post: “The three youths were involved in printing T-shirts [bearing slogans and Ley’s picture].
“The three will be released after investigation. Only one person is involved in the offence and now we have sent him to the Phnom Penh Municipal court.”
Three more young people were arrested on Wednesday after handing out “inciting” leaflets at the Caltex petrol station on the capital’s Monivong Boulevard where Ley was gunned down on July 10, 2016.
“They were arrested not for marking the anniversary but for distributing leaflets inciting crime and disorder. In fact, we only detained one youth. The two other youths claimed they volunteered to come along with the youth we detained.
“We have separated the cases and have detained only one youth because he distributed leaflets inciting others to commit crimes affecting the security and order of the nation,” Meas Pheakdey said.
Reiya’s wife Srey Nich told The Post that the authorities sent her husband to the municipal court on Tuesday night and then sent him back to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters.
“Yesterday evening, he was at the Phnom Penh police headquarters. They arrested my husband accusing him of posting on Facebook to sell shirts printed with Kem Ley’s photo."
“Three other people were made to sign a contract at the Phnom Penh police headquarters and were then allowed to return home,” she said.
Transparency International Cambodia director Preap Kol, who attended the anniversary gathering at the Caltex petrol station yesterday, said for the last three years on July 10, he has visited the cafe where Ley was shot, to drink coffee, remember him, and pray for his spirit, as he respected and loved him.
“What I saw around the petrol station and in the shop this morning showed the restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms imposed by narrow-minded Cambodian authorities."
“I am dismayed that the authorities deployed so many forces to stop people marking the anniversary,” he said.
Soeng Sen Karuna, a spokesman for rights group Adhoc, said on Wednesday that the authorities’ actions were unlawful and violated the people’s rights to gather peacefully.
“If they are charged with any crime, we will consider sending a lawyer to defend them in accordance with the law,” he said.