FINLAND GRANTS ASYLUM TO WIDOW, CHILD OF SLAIN CAMBODIAN LABOR LEADER


2004.03.03
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BANGKOK�The daughter and pregnant widow of slain Cambodian labor leader Chea Vichea will be resettled as refugees in Finland, RFA�s Khmer service reports.

�My feeling is that I am leaving Cambodia with great regret,� Chea Kimny said in an interview here. �But I have to leave my country because of fear. I have been very afraid since my husband was slain.�

Chea Vichea's widow, Chea Kimny, and her daughter were granted asylum in Finland on Wednesday. Chea Kimny, 39, who is eight months pregnant, and her daughter were granted asylum by Finland on Wednesday. They had not yet received a decision from the United States, where they had also sought refugee resettlement.

�After my husband was killed and I went to the hospital, there was a threat against me as the nurses were told not to take care of me. I could not live in my rented house when the owner of the house implored me to leave this month, explaining that there were some problems with the local authorities. I don�t know what problems. Yes, maybe it was the fear for my safety�� Chea Kimny said.

Last week, Chea Kimny and her daughter fled Cambodia for Bangkok, where the local U.N. refugee agency interviewed them.

Chea Kimny�s late husband, Chea Vichea, founded and led the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia. He was gunned down on a busy Phnom Penh street in broad daylight on Jan. 22.

A Soviet-trained agricultural engineer, Chea Vichea led the union through multiple labor protests that often clashed with police. Chea Vichea founded the union with opposition party leader Sam Rainsy�whom Chea Vichea supported politically.

Police arrested two suspects, Born Samnang, 23, and Sok Sam Oeun, 28, on Jan. 29 and seized a loaded pistol, K-54 bullets, handcuffs, and four holsters. On Feb. 23, the police confirmed with RFA that the two men were still in custody.

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