Key Questions Remain Unanswered in Killing of Cambodian Activist

The 2016 killing of Dr. Kem Ley marked the beginning of a severe tightening of the political space.

Five years ago, on the morning of July 10, 2016, Dr. Kem Ley, a Cambodian political commentator and human rights defender, was shot and killed while drinking his morning coffee at a Caltex service station in the country’s capital, Phnom Penh. Each year since, human rights groups have issued statements decrying the killing and pointing out the numerous legal shortcomings of the spurious official investigation into the incident.

This week, which marks the fifth anniversary of Kem Ley’s death, has been no different, with domestic and international rights organizations calling on Cambodian authorities to create an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the activist’s death.

“To date, there has been no independent, impartial and effective investigation to establish whether anyone else was involved in the killing,” a group of 45 domestic and international rights groups said in a joint statement issued Friday.

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