GETS LIFE IN JAIL

New Straits Times - - World -

Leang Sam­nath said Oeuth Ang, 44, was “sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment for pre­med­i­tated mur­der and pos­ses­sion of a gun with­out per­mis­sion”.

The killer, who through­out has in­sisted the court ad­dress him by his nick­name Chuob Sam­lab, which in Kh­mer means “meet to kill” — a moniker given to him dur­ing his years as a sol­dier — was calm as he heard his sen­tence.

He had pre­vi­ously told the court he shot his vic­tim twice, in­clud­ing in the head, but had ex­pressed “re­gret” over the mur­der.

The rul­ing is un­likely to bring clo­sure to Kem Ley’s fam­ily or his sea of sup­port­ers, who be­lieve United Na­tions International Chil­dren’s Emer­gency Fund Viet­nam’s child ex­pert, Vi­jaya Ratnam Ra­man, said.

“They may be shamed, or blame them­selves. There may be threats of vi­o­lence, and, some­times, they don’t have faith in the sit­u­a­tion and the sys­tem,” he added.

Cul­tural fac­tors also dis­cour­age the mur­der was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

“It is a show trial ar­ranged by the court and the gov­ern­ment. I want jus­tice for Kem Ley,” said Sar Sorn, a land rights ac­tivist, yes­ter­day.

Tens of thou­sands turned out for Kem Ley’s fu­neral in scenes that rat­tled the gov­ern­ment of rul­ing strongman Hun Sen.

The prime min­is­ter’s morethan-three-decade rule has seen mul­ti­ple crit­ics mur­dered in un­re­solved cases, es­pe­cially in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Rights group said he had used stron­garm tac­tics to choke off dis­sent and hob­ble his ri­vals as a na­tional elec­tion slated for 2018 ap­proaches.

The crack­down has seen a slew of ri­val politi­cians and rights ac­tivists swept up in court cases, leav­ing an op­po­si­tion party that made ma­jor gains in the pre­vi­ous poll fac­ing an up­hill bat­tle.

Kem Ley was an ar­tic­u­late and prom­i­nent critic of Cam­bo­dian politi­cians of all colours.

Be­fore his death, he set up a grass­roots po­lit­i­cal move­ment, but it has since pulled plans to field can­di­dates in loom­ing lo­cal elec­tions set for June.

In the days be­fore his death, he gave in­ter­views on a re­port al­leg­ing Hun Sen’s fam­ily had amassed huge wealth. AFP vic­tims from speak­ing out in a coun­try where chil­dren do not re­ceive ad­e­quate sex ed­u­ca­tion.

“Every­body is hes­i­tant to talk about rape, forced sex and sex­ual abuse,” said Khuat Thu Hong, di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute for So­cial De­vel­op­ment Stud­ies.

“We have to break that cul­ture.” AFP

AFP PIC

Police es­cort­ing Oeuth Ang (sec­ond from left) at the Ph­nom Penh mu­nic­i­pal court yes­ter­day.

AFP PIC

Nga, mother of the abused girl, show­ing the place where her daugh­ter was mo­lested in a res­i­den­tial quar­ter in Hanoi.

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