In what human rights organizations are calling two politically motivated incidents, a CPP activist and a Sam Rainsy Party activist were killed on Monday evening.
In response to those killings and those of seven other political activists, human rights and election watchdogs issued a joint statement Wednesday calling for the cessation of politically motivated killings and intimidation.
CPP activist Rin Mao, 30, was shot to death by unidentified assailants at his home in Sambor district, Kratie province at 7 pm Monday, according to the human rights group Adhoc.
An Adhoc report released Wednesday said that an investigation into the killing has not taken place because there is not sufficient security in the area.
Adhoc’s report also reveals that Long Man, a 30-year-old Sam Rainsy Party activist was stabbed to death Monday by unidentified assailants at her home in Kompong Ro district, Svay Rieng province.
Police in Svay Rieng and Kratie could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
A human rights worker in Svay Rieng said that on Saturday a CPP village chief in Svay Chrum district ordered Chum Kong, a Sam Rainsy Party supporter, to incinerate a load of Sam Rainsy Party literature, T-shirts and hats. The opposition party supporter was able to hide the campaign materials before he was forced to burn it.
And, according to Adhoc official Chan Soveth, Sam Rainsy Party activist Var Thol, 29, was beaten unconscious by three men in Kien Svay district, Kandal province, Monday. Chan Soveth said he suspects CPP activists were behind the attack. “The victim was attacked because he wore a Sam Rainsy Party cap and T-shirt and took part in the campaign.”
In response to what they call a spate of “acts of violence, intimidation and all acts leading to violence” in the run-up to the July 27 elections, Adhoc, the Committee for Free and Fair Elections, the Neutral Impartial Committee for Free and Fair Elections and the Cambodia Youth Council issued a “joint statement concerning the first days of the election campaign,” which began June 26.
The statement points to eight cases of politically motivated killings in the first five days of the campaign period, in which nine political activists were killed. It also details 26 incidents of politically motivated threats or intimidation. Nineteen of those were committed against Sam Rainsy Party members and five against Funcinpec members. Two CPP activists were reported threatened.
During the campaign, the report said, “village chiefs do not allow rival parties to run campaigns, prevent people from supporting the opposition party or joining the campaign…[and engage in] vote buying and pulling down party signs.” It also points to a “bias” toward the ruling party on behalf of police, military police, village chiefs and commune chiefs.
On Monday, Funcinpec President Prince Norodom Ranariddh appealed to Funcinpec Minister of Information Lu Laysreng to stop state-run radio and television from criticizing and “blasting” him over the airwaves.
“The use of radio and TV…is not correct and infringes on each candidate’s rights and violates the law and the code of conduct,” the prince wrote.
On Tuesday, Lu Laysreng issued a statement to state media outlets, urging them “to stop these wrong acts.”
Also, the National Election Committee announced Wednesday in a statement that the total number of NEC staffers will climb to 73,372 during the electoral process. Among other hires, the NEC will appoint seven people to each provincial or municipal election committee for each province or municipality in the country. Some 12,826 polling station officials will also be trained as ballot counters at polling stations.
The NEC also released a schedule for its televised political roundtable discussions.
The next scheduled roundtable will air on Friday and will deal with “security and social justice.” The discussion on “the laws of nationality and immigration” will follow on Sunday. The discussions will air on TVK from 10 am to noon and repeated from 5 pm to 7 pm in Phnom Penh. They will also be broadcast on National Radio AM 918 and FM 96.
Prince Ranariddh campaigned in Banteay Meanchey province Wednesday, while Sam Rainsy campaigned in several Phnom Penh markets. Prime Minister Hun Sen did not make any campaign appearances.