Activist’s Slaying ‘Revenge’

Authorities are trumpeting the arrest of two suspects in connection with the killing of an opposition party activist as proof that the execution-style slaying was not politically motivated.

According to a statement sign­ed by Prey Veng Police Com­missioner Colonel Pich Chivorn, the two suspects, brothers Sorn San, 25, and Sorn Sann, 28, were arrested March 3 and have confessed that they and three other men carried out the revenge killing and robbery of Ourn Phourng.

Ourn Phourng, 53, was a grass-roots activist for the Sam Rainsy Party in Preah Sdach commune. He and his 5-year-old daughter were fatally shot on the night of Jan 27 at their home in Kang Neang village, Preah Sdach district.

The police statement, distributed at a March 10 press conference in Prey Veng town, reports that a man named Kong Doc fired three AK-47 bullets into the house, although it does not say whether the shots killed the father and daughter. Kong Doc and two other suspects are at large.

Kong Doc had plotted to kill Ourn Phourng, whom he blames for the death of his father during Ourn Phourng’s stint as a Khmer Rouge cadre in the 1970s, the statement read.

A January statement signed by five witnesses to the shooting contradicts the brothers’ report, however. It said four gunmen in military fatigues fired on the house with automatic weapons.

Sam Rainsy Party steering committee member Tioulong Saumura took issue with allegations that Ourn Phourng was a Khmer Rouge cadre.

“We deny that he was a former Khmer Rouge,” she said. “We know his past quite well. We believe the so-called arrest of the two men is a masquerade.

“If he was a former KR, why did the revenge take this long? It’s difficult to believe, especially for us who knew him well,” she asked.

Ourn Pho­urng was killed to deter other people in Prey Veng from actively supporting the Sam Rainsy Party, she asserted.

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