Shooting Death of Popular Activist Roils Cambodia
Popular political analyst Kem Ley was shot dead on July 10 at a gas station convenience store in the capital Phnom Penh, causing an outpouring of grief in Cambodia. He was buried in his hometown in southwestern Cambodia’s Takeo province on July 25 after a weekend funeral procession that drew as many as two million mourners. Cambodians remain highly suspicious of the official account of the killing, which holds that an out-of-work former soldier shot Kem Ley over a $3,000 debt. Witnesses have gone into exile in fear of retaliation in a case that calls to mind similar murders of government opponents.
Kem Ley is praised as a fearless champion of Cambodians facing corruption and unaccountable government.
Kem Ley, 46, researcher and leader of the advocacy group Khmer for Khmer was shot twice at a gas station in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on July 10, 2016.
Millions of mourners lined Cambodia’s highways to pay respects to popular government critic Kem Ley on Sunday July 24, 2016, two weeks after his murder shocked the nation and underscored simmering political tensions. Photos: RFA/ Khmer Service