CAMBODIANS came out in the tens of thousands on Sunday to march in the funeral procession of a leading government critic who was shot dead earlier this month in an attack that has raised suspicions of a political conspiracy.
Kem Ley, who was a popular pro-democracy campaigner and leading grassroots rights activist, was fatally shot on July 10 by a former government soldier while he was outside a petrol station in the capital.
The suspect, identified as Oueth Ang, told police he killed Kem Ley during a dispute about money, but his wife contradicted his statement, saying they were too poor to loan money.
According to an AFP report, published by the South China Morning Post, Kem Ley was a regular critic of Cambodia’s premier, Hun Sen, who is currently facing accusations of clamping down on critics, as well as of using a business empire to to keep a lock on his power.
The huge procession, which started at dawn, stretched for 70 kilometres (50 miles) from the capital to the Takeo province. Throngs of people marched behind Buddhist monks and a motorcade carrying the 46-year-old Kem Ley’s body in a transparent case.
— Chan Thul Prak (@prakchanthul) July 24, 2016
— Kem Ley (@KemLeyOfficial) July 24, 2016
Just before his demise, the outspoken activist praised the report into Hun Sen’s allegedly corrupt business empire during a radio interview.
Hun Sen promised a thorough investigation into the killing amid political tensions that stirred up last year with legal and other pressures against the opposition.
Additional reporting by Associated Press