Cambodia Allows Ceremony for Murdered Union Leader, But Blocks March

Cambodian authorities this week gave permission for trade union members to commemorate the 2004 murder of their former president Chea Vichea, forbidding participants to march, however, and warning against the involvement of former opposition party members now banned from political life.

Chea Vichea, an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government and president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), was gunned down on Jan. 22, 2004 by an unknown assailant while he read a newspaper at a stand in Phnom Penh.

Two men were arrested within days of the murder with each handed 20-year jail sentences in a 2005 trial decried by rights groups as unjust.

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