Gov’t Questions Legality of Showing Chea Vichea Film on Slain Union Head

Union organizers planning to screen the documentary film “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” as part of their International Labor Day activities on Saturday could be breaking the law, according to government officials.

The Cambodian Independent Tea­chers Association and the Free Trade Union are planning to show the film on the 2004 assassination of uni­­on leader Chea Vichea and use it as the theme for their public rally on May 1.

On Saturday evening, the unions say they will hold a public screening of “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” near to where Chea Vichea was assassinated by Wat Langka at the corner of Street 51 and Sihanouk Boulevard.

The documentary film, directed by Bradley Cox, has been screened overseas and has been selected for the Cannes Independent Film Fe­stival, but is not believed to ever have been shown publicly in Camb­odia.

Lieutenant General Khieu So­pheak, the Interior Ministry spokes­man, said he believed the screening of the film could be illegal.

“I think the film has been illegally imported into Cambodia,” Lt Gen So­pheak said, before referring questions to the Culture Ministry.

Kong Kun Dara, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, said that showing the Chea Vichea film in public was illegal as the government had not given permission for its screening.

“It is completely wrong if played with­out permission from the Mi­ni­stry of Culture and Fine Arts,” he said.

Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, said the film “was sensitive for government leaders” and that he still planned for the film’s screening to go ahead.

Saturday’s May Day events, which include a march from the old Nat­ional Assembly to the newsstand where Mr Vichea was killed, would al­­so go ahead as planned, Mr Chhun said.

The march “is to motivate the government to do the investigation to arrest the real murderers of Chea Vichea,” Mr Chhun said.

Chea Mony, Mr Vichea’s brother and current Free Trade Union president, also said that the film screening would proceed as planned.

“Playing the film shows the public that the former [FTU] president Chea Vichea was killed in an unju0st way,” Mr Mony said.

 

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