The battered body of a missing Sam Rainsy Party activist was found in a shallow grave in Kompong Cham province in the third suspected political killing reported this week.
Party representatives and investigators from the UN exhumed the body of Em Eam, 62, on Friday in Tbong Khmum district. His neck had been broken and his nose smashed, according to the party investigator.
Em Eam, a staff member of the Sam Rainsy Party district office in Tbong Khmum, had been missing since June 10. Workers on a rubber plantation came across the shallow grave containing the body Wednesday, the party said.
The Sam Rainsy Party issued a statement Friday condemning the killing, and a party spokesman said it is further proof of an atmosphere of intimidation and violence in the run-up to July 26 elections.
“We demand an investigation of this crime,” said Eng Chhay Eang, chief of Sam Rainsy’s Cabinet.
“If there is any chance for democracy in this country, the people who order and commit acts of political terror must be found and punished.”
Kompong Cham Police Chief Sourn Chheang Ly, contacted on his mobile phone Saturday, said he was in Phnom Penh for a CPP party meeting and had not heard of the case. His deputies could not be reached.
The UN rights office in Phnom Penh is investigating the killing and will make a statement later, the center’s director, Rosemary McCreery, said Friday afternoon.
Two other political killings were reported Wednesday. On June 14, a Funcinpec activist and the wife of a Funcinpec official were killed in separate attacks in Prey Veng.
Armed men dragged activist Phun Phoun out of his house and shot him. Neang Mom Yang, the wife of the party’s deputy district representative, was shot while weaving in front of her house.
Police in Prey Veng said those killings were not necessarily political. One National Police general said Phun Phoun appeared to have been killed in a robbery attempt and speculated that a jealous woman may have been behind Neang Mom Yang’s death.
(Additional reporting by Saing Soenthrith)