Phnom Penh governor criticises Kem Ley funeral

Source : The Phnom Penh Post / Mon, 18 July 2016 by

comemorate

People gather in front of a portrait of slain political analyst Kem Ley yesterday afternoon at Chroy Changvar’s Wat Chas pagoda. Heng Chivoan

The continued presence of the body of slain political analyst Kem Ley at the capital’s Wat Chas pagoda, where thousands have converged to pay their respects over the past week, is nothing more than a politicised money grab, City Governor Pa Socheatvong said yesterday.

Socheatvong’s remarks came after the committee tasked with overseeing details of the funeral balked at an agreement to send the body for interment to Ley’s home province of Takeo.

An at-times strident critic of the government, Ley was shot dead while drinking coffee at a Phnom Penh petrol station last Sunday.

While City Hall on Friday said they had reached an agreement that the procession would take place yesterday, the funeral committee – a group of more than 20 family members, friends and colleagues – decided more time was warranted for the public viewing. Socheatvong yesterday slammed the change of heart as politically motivated.

“The interference of those people has become the subject of political interests,” he said, claiming the decision-making process had been taken out of the hands of the family. “It benefits their financial interests . . . they store the body to earn money, and it can earn $10,000 per day; they do not store the body for letting his soul rest in peace.

“Some politicians try to take advantage, and they said [Ley’s] body is the public’s body. But the body is still a human body and the family has the right to decide.”

 

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