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Location: Cambodia

Students´Movement for Democracy (SMD) is a non-political and most active youth organization in Cambodia. It was established in 1998 after the unfair and unjust election result released manipulated by the CPP.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

LIKE DAUGHTER LIKE FATHER


Chea Vicheata, the daughter of Chea Vichea who is now living in Finland is attending the demonstration against the present of Hun Sen in Finland for the Conference in September 2006. She is as brave as her farther.
ABOUT CHEA VICHEA
At the time of his death in January 2004, Chea Vichea, 36 years old, was a prominent and internationally respected trade union leader. He was well known as a champion for workers’ rights in the growing and economically vital garment industry. His work as a trade unionist was also closely linked with his opposition political activities dating back to the 1990s.

Chea Vichea was born in Kandal province and studied agriculture in the former Soviet Union before returning to his native Cambodia on graduation in 1995. He was a founding member, together with Sam Rainsy, of the Khmer Nation Party (KNP) in 1995, renamed the Sam Rainsy Party in 1998.

In early 1997 he helped to create the Free Trade Union of Workers, together with Sam Rainsy.The KNP supported garment factory workers in a series of strikes in 1997 for improved pay and conditions. Many of the workers took part in a demonstration organised by the KNP outside the National Assembly in Phnom Penh on 30 March 1997 to protest about deficiencies of the judicial system. Four grenades were thrown into the peaceful demonstration resulting in at least 16 deaths and over 100 injured, including Chea Vichea who suffered a head injury.

Vichea was shot in the head and chest while reading a newspaper at a kiosk in Phnom Penh; he had recently been dismissed by the INSM Garment Factory (located in the Chum Chao District of Phnom Penh), as a reprisal for helping to establish a trade union at the company. He was also closely affiliated with the opposition Sam Rainsy Party. Following his death, he was succeeded in his position at the FTUWKC by his brother Chea Mony.
A few days after Vichea's killing, and facing mounting criticism for their failure to act, Cambodian authorities arrested two men and charged them with the murder. The first, Born Samnang, intitially admitted to the killing but then publicly retracted, claiming to have been beaten into confessing. Multiple eyewitnesses have placed Born Samnang in a different part of the country at the time of the murder. The second suspect, Sok Sam Oeun, has consistently denied any involvement.
On 22 March 2004, the Investigating Judge in the case, Hing Thirith, threw out the charges against the two men, citing a lack of evidence against them. The next day, Hing Thirith was removed from his job at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, and his decision to drop charges was subsequently overturned on 1 June 2004 by the Appeals Court Presiding Judge Thou Mony[1]. More than a year after the murder, Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun have yet to be tried and remain in custody in Phnom Penh, despite a Cambodian law that no one be detained without trial for longer than six months. The case has been taken up by many human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

On 1 August 2005, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court's delivered a highly criticized judgment by both local and international organizations, calling this verdict unfair and based on political bias rather than on independent and reasonable judgment.


Sok Sam Oeun and Born Samnang were judged guilty after a trial where no witnesses came to testify against accuses and no forensic evidence was brought to court. Both individuals were sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 compensation each to the family of the victim.

Compensation was turned down by the family of Chea Vichea, stating that they did not believe the two convicted were the murderers of their lost member.

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