Wife of Slain Cambodian Government Critic Leaves Country

Interview: 'What my husband did was for the sake of the nation. I always supported him.' 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 left Cambodia with her children for an undisclosed country, a Buddhist monk who is a member of the pundit’s funeral commission told RFA’s Khmer Service on Monday.

Bou Rachana and her children are now in a secure place which cannot be disclosed, and she has prepared a letter of authorization for the funeral commission to hold a traditional 100-day funeral for Kem Ley on her behalf, said monk But Buntenh.

The ceremony will be held for three days on Oct. 14-16, though the committee must decide where to hold it, said But Buntenh, who , who is also president of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice.

Nearly two weeks ago, Bou Rachana asked the CENTRAL, a labor-oriented NGO that provides legal aid to Cambodian workers, to prepare legal action related to the murder of her husband.

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 Oeuth 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 Zakariya Tin for RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Nareth Muong. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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