Unionists Call on the Authorities to Find Union Leader Chea Vichea’s Killers

Rong Chhun, left, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, listens to Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, during a ceremony in honor of Chea Vichea held at his memorial Wednesday in Phnom Penh.

Unionists and family members of union leader Chea Vichea Wednesday appealed to the Cambodian government to investigate his killing, find the perpetrators and bring justice to him, his family and friends.


The request was made on the 16th anniversary of the death of Vichea during a modest ceremony at the monument erected in his honor across from the Wat Langka pagoda in Phnom Penh. 


Vichea who was the leader of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) was gunned down on Jan. 22, 2004, while he was buying his morning newspaper.


Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union, said Wednesday that, over the last 16 years, the authorities have found no evidence that could be presented to his family.  


He urged the Cambodian government to step up the investigation to find Vichea’s murderers so that his family can see justice done.   


"The Cambodian government must guarantee that there is no violence, murder of or threats against unionists anymore,” Thorn said. “We want to see the Cambodian government respect human rights, human-right activities, workers’ rights as stated in the constitution."  


"The impunity around his [Chea Vichea] murder must come to an end and justice must prevail," the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said Wednesday on its Facebook page.


Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeurn were arrested, found guilty of killing Chea Vichea and jailed in August 2005. Believed innocents by human-rights and other organizations, they spent five years in jail before their sentences were overturned and they were released.  


No suspect has been arrested since. 


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