19 February 2008
Heng Reaksmey reports in Khmer (1 MB) - Listen (MP3)
Norodom Ranariddh Party leaders issued a statement Monday calling for further investigation into the 2003 murder of a royalist parliamentarian.
Om Rasady, a former Funcinpec member, was shot dead on Feb. 18, 2003, outside a Phnom Penh restaurant. Police blamed it on a cell phone mugging, but the NRP said again Monday the killing was political.
The appeal came as the NRP held a five-year anniversary at Wat Chambok in Takeo province, were Om Rasady had sponsored a restoration project.
Prince Norodom Ranariddh said in a statement the killing was political, similar to other deaths, such as the 1997 grenade attack on Sam Rainsy Party followers and extrajudicial killings during the July 1997 coup.
None of the suspects have been arrested in those crimes, he said.
NRP spokesman Muth Chantha said the government had no interest in arresting or prosecuting the true killers.
"If Cambodian authorities carried out the law and were not involved in politics, they should be investigating such crimes," he said.
Deputy National Police Chief Lt. Gen. Sok Phal said Monday the police had already arrested two suspects in the murder of Om Rasady.
"The spokesmen of the Norodom Ranariddh Party maybe change too much, and the leader also changes too. So that's why they don't keep up with the crimes in Cambodia, such as Om Rasady's case," Sok Phal said.
Kek Galabru, founder of the rights group Licadho, said Monday that police explanations of the murder as a cell phone robbery did not make sense.
"Why did the killer only want his mobile phone? Why didn't the killer point the gun to some persons around him?" she said.