The Denmark-based leader of the anti-government Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) accused Cambodian authorities of killing his brother while he was imprisoned for plotting to overthrow the government.
KNLF leader Serey Sam told RFA’s Khmer Service that he doubted the government’s story that his brother dropped dead of a heart attack on Wednesday night, saying he was in good health.
Fellow inmates told Serey Sam that his brother Yean Yoeurb took his regular evening jog and seemed to be fine until he ate food given to him by a guard, he told RFA.
“After eating the food given by the security guard, he choked and grasped for air,” Serey Sam said from Denmark. “He died instantly.”
The lack of an investigation into the death, the guard’s lackadaisical handling of the body and his quick cremation all factored into Serey Sam’s accusation,
“His body was left in the prison unattended for the whole night,” Serey Sam said. “The following morning it he was cremated.”
Prison officials told local media that Yen Yoeurb died of a heart attack,
“I received the name of a prisoner from Prey Sar prison, Yean Yoeurb, and he died because of a heart attack,” Be Tea Leng, deputy director-general of the Interior Ministry’s general department of prisons told The Cambodia Daily.
The government has named the KNFL a terrorist organization and Yean Yoeurb was serving a seven-year prison sentence, although it was unclear on what charge.
Earlier this month, 11 more KNLF members were handed five- to nine-year prison sentences for plans they said amounted to a peaceful protest outside the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh in 2014, but which authorities claimed was intended to sow violence and disorder, according to The Cambodia Daily report.
Serey Sam was also convicted in 2014 for plotting to overthrow the government. In a report by the Khmer Times, Serey Sam said his organization was a peaceful one.
Reported for RFA's Khmer Service by Sothearin Yeang. Translated by Nareth Muong. Written in English by Brooks Boliek.