Anniversary of Cambodian Political Commentator Kem Ley’s Murder Marred by Arrests, Restrictions

The third anniversary of the murder of Cambodian political commentator Kem Ley was marred by what rights groups called restrictions to the rights of freedom of expression and assembly, including the arrest of several youth activists, drawing condemnation from the country’s dissolved opposition party on Thursday.

Kem Ley was shot to death in broad daylight on July 10, 2016 while having a morning coffee at a Caltex gas station in the capital Phnom Penh, days after publicly criticizing Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family for abuse of power and unexplained wealth.

Authorities charged a former soldier named Oeuth Ang with the murder and sentenced him to life in prison in March 2017, but many in Cambodia do not believe the government’s story that Kem Ley was killed by the man over a debt. In May, Cambodia’s Supreme Court rejected Oeuth Ang’s appeal for reduction of sentence and upheld his life imprisonment term.

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