Temporary refuge in Thailand for Widow of Slain Cambodian Critic Kem Ley

2016-09-02
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Bou Rachana stands in front of an image of slain husband Kem Ley.
Bou Rachana stands in front of an image of slain husband Kem Ley.
RFA/Sideth Cheu

The widow of slain government critic and scholar Kem Ley has taken temporary refuge in Thailand, sources familiar with the family's movements told RFA’s Khmer Service on Friday.

Bou Rachana and her children, who left Cambodia for Thailand on Aug. 28, have received refuge status from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and are waiting for the UNHCR's decision to move them to a third country, said the source, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the family's situation.

Kem Ley was gunned down in broad daylight on July 10 when he stopped in a Star Mart convenience store beside a Caltex gas station in the capital Phnom Penh.

Cambodian authorities have charged former soldier Oueth Ang with the killing, who has said he shot Kem Ley over a U.S. $3,000 debt.

Kem Ley was buried in southwestern Cambodia’s Takeo province two weeks later after a weekend funeral procession that drew around 2 million mourners.

Just days before he was gunned down, he had discussed on an RFA call-in show a report by London-based group Global Witness detailing the extent of the wealth of the family of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for 31 years.

Reported by Vuthy Huot for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Yanny Hin. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

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