Police in Phnom Penh prevented the Cambodian Confederation of Unions from screening the documentary “Who Killed Chea Vichea?” at the recently opened Freedom Park yesterday evening.
CCU president Rong Chhun decided to move forward with the screening despite receiving a formal rejection from municipal governor Kep Chuktema earlier in the day. A handful of undercover policemen waited at the corners of the park, and about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled screening, Daun Penh deputy district governor Sok Penhvuth approached Mr Chhun and presented him with the a letter from the governor.
“You did not receive permission from City Hall to screen the film,” Mr Penhvuth told Mr Chhun. “The authorities will take action if you do.”
In his second attempt this year to screen the film publicly, Mr Chhun issued a formal request to municipal governor Kep Chuktema on Monday. “I am extremely unhappy that that the police would not allow us to show the documentary,” he said. “Freedom Park was built for this very purpose.”
The film documents the investigation surrounding the January 2004 killing of Chea Vichea, a prominent and outspoken union leader who was shot dead outside Phnom Penh’s Wat Langka.
Chea Vichea’s brother, Free Trade Union President Chea Mony, was also in attendance and claimed that the crackdown was unjust. “The government cannot keep hiding this case. I have been waiting for seven years now and it should be shown in public who killed my brother.
Mr Chhun claims that the 55-minute documentary exposes the involvement of national police and one high-ranking government official in the plot.
As a result of yesterday’s crackdown, Mr Chhun said that an open screening of the film would occur today at 9:00 am at CCU headquarters.
Deputy municipal police chief Yim Samnang said, “We will not allow a screening of an unauthorized film anywhere, not at CCU headquarters, not anywhere.”
Mr Mony said that if the government continued to refuse requests to publicly screen the documentary, he would raise $10,000 to press DVDs and hand them out to the public.