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Murder Charges Filed in Death of Cambodian Government Critic

2 min read
Takeo province, Cambodia

A village bank in Takeo province, Cambodia. Photo by Brett Matthews.

A Cambodian court charged Oueth Ang with premeditated murder on Wednesday for the execution-style killing of government critic Kem Ley, as international organizations including the U.N. called for a “proper” investigation into his death.

The alleged killer insists on being called Chuob Samlab, a Khmer name meaning “meet to kill,” deputy prosecutor Ly Sophana told reporters, who were barred from the courtroom.

Court officials said the nickname would be used in documents for now, according to a report by the Associated Press. If convicted, Oueth Ang could be sentenced to life in prison.

Kem Ley was murdered on Sunday at a gas station convenience store that he often stopped at to talk with friends. He was shot twice at point-blank range.

Authorities have said that Kem Ley was killed over an outstanding debt, but Oueth Ang’s wife says that’s impossible because the couple has no money.

“I don’t believe the debt issue was the motive,” Hoeum Horth told AFP, explaining her shock at his alleged involvement. “Kem Ley is rich and we are poor.”

Also charged on Wednesday was a man who allegedly sold the gun Oueth Ang used in the crime. While the man was not identified, Ly Sophana told reporters he was charged with illegal weapons trafficking.

The charges come as the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for a thorough investigation into Kem Ley’s killing.

Full story:

Reported by Zakariya Tin and Savyouth Hang for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Yanny Hin. Written in English by Brooks Boliek.

Copyright © 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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