Union Rep’s Widow Demands Compesation Compensation

The wife of a slain Free Trade Union factory representative has filed a complaint with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court urging au­thorities to find her husband’s killers and demanding that the kill­ers pay her $30,000 compensation.

Two men riding a motorbike shot dead Ros Sovannareth, FTU representative for the Trinunggal Komara garment factory, on May 7. The killing comes about three months after the assassination of FTU president and Sam Rainsy Party activist Chea Vichea.

On Tuesday, Roeun Yarann filed a complaint stating that on Nov 29, 2003, Khvann Chanly­mony, an official with the pro-government Cambodian Union Fed­er­ation had threatened her late husband.

Phnom Penh Penal Police Chief Reach Sokhon said Thurs­day that police are still investigating the case. He said police have no suspects, but the feud between the FTU and CUF is being investigated.

“The killing was not a robbery case. It was an assassination for revenge,” Reach Sokhon said.

CUF President Chhoun Mom­thol warned Thursday that he will file a defamation complaint against Roeun Yarann if the court clears his union’s name.

“She has the right to file a complaint, but be careful. When the court discovers that my union was not involved in the case, I will ask for compensation and to have her imprisoned,” Chhoun Mom­thol said.

He said Ros Sovannareth was killed as the result of an extramarital affair.

He also said that he told a court prosecutor to look into Ros Sovannareth’s love life to solve the crime. He would not name the prosecutor.

In a letter to Minister of Social Affairs Ith Sam Heng, dated Monday, the general-secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions-Asian and Pacific Regional Organization condemned the latest killing of a union leader.

“The consecutive murder is an overt threat to the trade union movement,” Noriyuki Suzuki wrote.

At Ros Sovannareth’s cremation Sunday, several FTU members voiced suspicion of CUF involvement in the shooting. Some said the inter-union row was fueled by the CUF representing itself as the FTU in order to recruit members and collect fees.

Later Sunday, Chhoun Mom­thol denied animosity existed between the unions and rejected allegations of foul play.

He also at­tacked opposition leader Sam Rainsy for his party’s insinuation that the killing could be political.

(Additional reporting by Porter Barron)

 

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