On 22 January Chea Vichea, the president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC), which organises garment workers, was shot dead in Phnom Penh.
Chea Vichea was an outspoken leader. He was shot in the head and chest while reading a newspaper at a busy kiosk in Phnom Penh.
Vichea was also a founding member of the Sam Rainsy party (Cambodia's main opposition party). He eventually left the party to focus on his union work, but maintained close links with it. In recent weeks three other members of the opposition have been murdered in Cambodia.
On 25 January Buddhist monks led a procession of some 10,000 people, many of them garment workers, accompanying Vichea's coffin from the union headquarters to the cremation site.
The ICFTU reports that according to numerous sources Vichea had received several death threats.
Two men were arrested on 28 January in connection with Vichea's murder; one has denied involvement in the murder and the other has reportedly confessed. However, opposition leader Sam Rainsy has said he does not believe the men were involved in the slaying, and has criticised the police handling of the case.
The FTUWKC has appealed to the international community to take action in response to the murder, requesting that people contact the Han Sen government to demand an impartial investigation into the killing.
- Send letters to: Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Fax: + 855 23 88 06 24