The wife of murdered journalist Hang Serei Odom used the one-year anniversary of her husband’s death on Monday to pray that his killers be brought to justice.
Hang Serei Odom, who had worked as a reporter for the Virakchun Khmer Daily writing articles connecting local military police officials to the illegal logging trade, was found stuffed in the trunk of a car in Ratanakkiri province last year.
“One year has passed since his murder, and the killers remain at large so there is a huge injustice for my husband’s life,” said his wife, Im Chanthy.
Ms. Chanthy last week filed complaints with the Appeal Court, Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Council of the Magistracy, after the Ratanakkiri Provincial Court on August 28 dropped all charges against former military police Captain An Bunheng and his wife, who had both been charged with the murder.
According to a copy of her complaint submitted with the Appeal Court, Ms. Chanthy said that the provincial court at its second hearing on August 2 failed to consider important evidence, including a recording of a phone conversation.
Sam Pracheameanith, chief of Cabinet for Justice Minister Ang Vong Vattana, said that while Ms. Chanthy is appealing the provincial court’s decision, the Justice Ministry could only intervene by ordering a further “inspection.”
Deputy provincial police chief Phen Dyna said that the police had done what they could to investigate the murder of Hang Serei Odom and that it was ultimately the domain of the court to deal with the evidence as it saw fit.
“From our thorough investigation, we found they were the key suspects,” Mr. Dyna said of Mr. Bunheng and his wife. “But if the court finds something contradicting the police reports, it’s the court’s right to clear the suspects of the crimes.”
Ms. Chanthy said that impunity for the murderers of her husband sent the wrong message to the community.
“To protect reporters from being murdered, it is a must that courts convict and imprison murderers,” she said.