About 100 Funcinpec supporters turned out in memory of activist Thong Sophal at the party’s headquarters in Kandal province Thursday. But the number would have been at least twice that had many supporters in Yeay Hin 1 village not been too afraid to attend, said Thong Sophal’s 40-year-old widow.
“Every day I worry for my life,” Su Ith, mother of seven, said after the ceremony, adding that her grief over losing her husband has been worsened by constant intimidation from local CPP officials.
“Right from the start the local authorities told me not to speak to journalists about my husband’s death and I feel very threatened,” she said. “The day on which my husband’s body was found, the local authorities forced me to put my thumbprint on three pages which I could not understand.”
And on the seven-day commemoration of his death, she said, CPP officials demanded to know how much financial assistance she had received from Funcinpec.
Thong Sophal’s mutilated body was found in a ditch June 27 after he had been missing for 11 days. He suffered a massive blow to the left head and showed signs of torture, according to a UN report.
But a vial of unidentified fluid was found nearby, prompting district police to suggest suicide.
Su Ith insists, however, “My husband was murdered, he did not commit suicide as the Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper said.”
Local police deny intimidating Su Ith. “We visit Su Ith to offer support and to check whether she has any new information on the death,” said Tom Vai, deputy chief of judicial police for the province. He said they were still regarding the case a suicide, though investgations continue.
The presence of a UN observer at the event shows that the UN considers Kandal dangerous for non-CPP supporters, local Funcinpec candidate Lay Prohas said.
Funcinpec supporters were recently accosted by drunken CPP members shouting, “You will be killed after the election. There is a 30,000 riel price on each of your heads,” Funcinpec candidate Phearith Nuov claimed.