Kem Ley’s Brother Questions Probe’s Sincerity

The brother of slain political commentator Kem Ley on Friday accused authorities of attempting to divert attention from their highly secretive investigation into the murder by staging a recent gre­nade blast in Phnom Penh.

The charge from Kem Rithisith, the popular analyst’s younger brother, came as court officials yet again refused to disclose details of the probe after questioning the main suspect on Friday.

Oeuth Ang, center, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being questioned on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Oeuth Ang, center, leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after being questioned on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

The man charged with shooting Kem Ley inside a Phnom Penh convenience store in July has identified himself as Chuop Samlap, or “Meet Kill.” His family has identified him as Oeuth Ang, a former soldier and monk who left his village in Siem Reap province about a week before the murder.

The public has been kept in the dark about the murder investigation, only fueling suspicions of gov­ernment involvement.

Mr. Ang was questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, but court spokesman Ly So­pha­na was tight-lipped about what ­transpired.

“We brought him in for questioning after we found more evidence. We can’t tell you anything more because the investigation is ongoing,” he said.
Investigating Judge Seng Leang declined to comment.

Mr. Rithisith said it was obvious that authorities were not interested in finding his brother’s real killer.

“I can see that they are not working seriously on the case,” he add­ed. “I think it might be because the mastermind is too big” to be brought to justice.

The timing of a grenade explosion that injured at least three people earlier this month, as well as recent military exercises conducted outside the opposition CNRP’s headquarters, was no coincidence, Mr. Rithisith said, offering no evidence to support these claims.

“They are trying to make people forget,” he said.

Interior Ministry and National Police officials could not be reached on Friday. Defense Ministry spokesman Chhum Sucheat, however, dismissed Mr. Rithi­sith’s accusations.

“Our military was mobilized because we knew that the opposition party had announced plans to dem­onstrate, so we needed to move around to ensure the public’s security,” General Sucheat said.

“These are different cases,” he added. “The Kem Ley case was a murder and the government found the killer.”

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