The wife of slain political analyst Kem Ley yesterday expressed a desire for her family to leave the country because of concerns for their safety, as several people close to the murdered government critic said he appeared to be under surveillance in the days leading up to his death.
Ley, a prominent analyst and founder of the Khmer for Khmer grassroots political movement, was gunned down on Sunday morning while drinking his morning coffee at a petrol station in Phnom Penh.
Former soldier and ex-monk Oeut Ang, 44, was arrested near the scene and, after two days of questioning, is expected to be charged today, according to Phnom Penh court spokesman Ly Sophanna.
In a recorded confession, the suspect claimed Ley owed him money, though suggestions of a political motive circulated almost immediately given the victim’s high profile and criticism of the government.
In an interview recorded yesterday obtained by the Post, Ley’s wife, Bou Rachana, said she feared for the safety of her four children and wanted to leave for Australia, where people had made offers of support.
“[Before], we felt happy and comfortable living in the country, [but now] there is no safety and we are concerned about my family’s safety,” said Rachana, who is pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.
Rachana said she had been in touch with groups in Australia who had pledged to try and help the family relocate. The Australian Embassy yesterday said no formal request for asylum or assistance had been received.