Family of Slain Activist Still Fears Violence

Family members of a slain Sam Rainsy Party activist claimed on Friday that they must move from their home in Kompong Cham province because they fear for their safety.

The family members spoke after opposition leader Sam Rainsy held a public ceremony at the family’s home honoring Heng Sean, a Sam Rainsy Party activist and informant for the human rights group Adhoc, who was killed in Tbong Khmum district on Sept 6.

The family members said Sam Rainsy’s speech might have drawn unwanted attention to them and they no longer feel safe in Tbong Khmum.

“I am surprised and glad” that Sam Rainsy helped with the ceremony, said Tin Sophal, Heng Sean’s widow. But Tin Sophal said she and her family must now relocate “because I am afraid [the perpetrators] would break us because of the ceremony.”

Heng Lihour, daughter of Heng Sean, said the ceremony presided over by Sam Rainsy “made me glad and also worrisome.”

She said that although she would no longer attend school when her family moves, she would rather give up her studies than live with the fear that someone will kill her and her family.

On Sunday, Sam Rainsy said he too was worried about possible violence against the family in the future and vowed to help the family resettle in another country.

In the past, the Sam Rainsy Party has helped family members of slain opposition party members move to Thailand, Sam Rainsy said.

“I will never forget their gratitude,” he said of the family.

Heng Sean was shot to death early in the morning on Sept 6. He was allegedly shot by three men wearing military uniforms, police and human rights officials said after the killing.

Although Adhoc characterized the motive behind the killing as political, police have said that Heng Sean was killed over a personal dispute.

The police have not arrested anyone for Heng Sean’s killing.

 

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