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Wife of slain Cambodian activist accepts compensation, but still demands justice

The widow of a slain Cambodian opposition party activist said she received compensation for her husband’s death, but had not agreed to withdraw charges against the assailant as court officials claimed she had.

Wen Kimyi, whose husband Po Hin Lean was shot on his way to go fishing early on the morning of Oct. 16 in the southeastern province of Tbong Khmum, told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday that she received $12,000 in compensation from a Cambodian court.

But when she received the compensation, court officials read a document stating that she had withdrawn her criminal complaint and agreed not to press charges against her husband’s killer. 

“They read me a letter saying that my husband resisted arrest, and so the police shot him, according to the police officer,” said Wen Kimyi. ”I don’t allow the police to release my husband’s killers. I want to find out: who is my husband’s killer?”

She said she accepted the compensation money to pay for her husband’s funeral.

The court in Tbong Khmum province only said that a security guard named “Vet” was detained for the killing and charged with involuntary manslaughter. RFA was unable to confirm if he was released after the victim’s wife accepted compensation.  

A court spokesperson discussed the case with a local radio station in Cambodia and said that the matter is being handled by an investigative judge.

Po Hin Lean’s killing was part of a series of attacks targeting opposition activists across Cambodia, especially those linked to the relatively new Candlelight Party. 

Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party has had a firm grip on Cambodia’s government since 1997. In the most recent communal elections, several opposition candidates and activists reported being harassed and targeted in the run-up to the vote. 

Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Nawar Nemeh.