Ahead of Cremation, Body of Pen Sovann Arrives in Phnom Penh

A procession of several hundred mourners followed the body of former Prime Minister Pen Sovann on Wednesday as it was carried from his home in Takeo province to Phnom Penh, where it is to be cremated on Sunday.

Pen Sovann, Cambodia’s first post-Khmer Rouge prime minister and a founding member of the rebel force that helped topple the regime in January 1979, died of natural causes on Saturday at the age of 80.

The funeral cortege of late CNRP lawmaker and former Prime Minister Pen Sovann arrives in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
The funeral cortege of late CNRP lawmaker and former Prime Minister Pen Sovann arrives in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“I came to express my thanks for his bravery because he liberated the Khmer people from Pol Pot’s regime,” said Met Muoy, 71, who came from Koh Kong province to join the cortege.

The body arrived at Wat Thann at about 1 p.m., but it remains to be seen if it will be cremated there.

The municipal government has rejected a request by the opposition CNRP, with whom Pen Sovann won a National Assembly seat in 2013, to have the body burned in public at Wat Botum park.

Monks join a funeral cortege for late CNRP lawmaker and former Prime Minister Pen Sovann in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Monks join a funeral cortege for late CNRP lawmaker and former Prime Minister Pen Sovann in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

CNRP lawmaker Yem Ponhearith said on Wednesday that the party still hoped to persuade City Hall to change its mind.

sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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