Kompong Cham Authorities Accused of Murder Coverup

A human rights official in Kom­pong Cham province has ac­cused the provincial court and police of failing to investigate the case of a Funcinpec activist killed in January 2001.

The human rights official, who declined to be identified, said  police never made an arrest, and the courts did not thoroughly investigate the killing of Fun­cinpec activist Chhay Than, who was shot to death in Tbong Khmum district. by two or three assailants

“We want this case and any un­resolved cases completed be­cause the [national] elections are a year away and we have had a lot of violence and killing in this province,” the official said.

A total of 17 candidates or activists were killed in the year before the last February’s, commune council elections—five of those killings took place in Kom­pong Cham.

The killing of Chhay Than was not related to the 2002 elections; Chhay Than was most likely killed because he had been leading villagers to protest against a local fishing lot owner, the official said.

The official said human rights workers have pressed the provincial court on several occasions to “speed up the process” in this case. However, provincial court officials allegedly told human rights workers that they never received the case file.

A police official disputed the human rights official’s accusations, saying on Monday that the police have conducted an investigation

“We have one suspect, but we do not have enough evidence to ar­rest him,” said Kom­pong Cham Deputy Police Chief Seng Sokhim.

He said the courts did not file charges against the suspect—identified as Mom Lounh—for the killing of Chhay Than. How­ever, he said the courts charged Mom Lounh with membership in an illegal armed force in connection with the killing.

Seng Sokhim said the courts issued a warrant for Mom Lounh’s arrest, but the suspect escaped.


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