Kem Ley Memorials Planned in Capital, Takeo, Melbourne

Political analyst Kem Ley will be remembered in memorial ceremonies hosted by his family, overseas supporters and the political party he helped start on Sunday and Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of his murder.

Kem Ley, 46, was gunned down aged 46 on July 10, days after voicing criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family on a radio program. Though a former soldier was sentenced to life in prison for the killing, the public has remained skeptical of the court’s investigation.

Thousands of mourners escort the body of slain political analyst Kem Ley through Phnom Penh in July last year on their way to his hometown in Takeo province. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

A ceremony will begin on Sunday at his Takeo province family home in Angtakob village, according to Kem Thavy, Kem Ley’s 54-year-old sister. The event will include a Buddhist religious ceremony on Sunday afternoon and a reading of Kem Ley’s biography, she said.

“We expect thousands of supporters will come to the anniversary,” she said.

The small Grassroots Democracy Party, which Kem Ley helped start in 2015, will mark its founder’s death with a small Buddhist ceremony on Sunday morning at its party headquarters in Phnom Penh, according to party president Yeng Virak.

In Melbourne, the Cambodian Association of Victoria is gathering several of Kem Ley’s prominent friends for an event on Sunday, according to Chea Youhorn, who heads the association.

Invited guests include activist monk But Buntenh; Moeun Tola, director of the labor group Central; and Radio Free Asia journalist Huot Vuthy, known on air as Chun Chanboth, who fled the country in April amid fears for his safety after authorities charged him with falsely identifying himself to prison guards in order to visit CNRP prisoners.

The memorial, which Mr. Youhorn hopes will draw at least 300 to 500 supporters, will feature a religious ceremony at Wat Buddharangsi and a forum.

“That is a special event because everyone feels the loss of Kem Ley,” Mr. Youhorn said.

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