EXTERNAL AI Index: ASA 23/07/96
UA 125/96 Fear for safety / Possible extrajudicial execution 21 May 1996
CAMBODIAPolitical activists from the Khmer Nation Party
Thun Bun Ly, newspaper editor
Amnesty International fears for the safety of political party activists in
Phnom Penh, following the possible extrajudicial execution of Thun Bun Ly,
a newspaper editor and party worker with Cheat Khmae (Khmer Nation Party or
KNP) on 18 May 1996.
Thun Bun Ly was shot dead in broad daylight near his house on 18 May, by two
men on a motorcycle, who hit him three times from the rear with shots from
a K-59 pistol. He died on the street, and police later came to the Buddhist
temple where his body was lying, and removed the bullets from his body.
Amnesty International fears for the safety of other KNP activists, particularly
some individuals who are also involved in journalism, when they attend the
funeral of Thun Bun Ly, scheduled for 8am on 22 May in Phnom Penh. The
organization has received information that several individuals who have
received death threats in the recent past, because of their peaceful political
activities are at risk should they attend Thun Bun Ly's funeral.
In 1994, two journalists who had published articles critical of the Royal
Cambodian Government were shot dead in unexplained attacks. In February 1996,
Ek Mongkul, a popular radio personality was shot and wounded from behind by
men travelling on a motorcycle. No one has ever been brought to justice for
these attacks. The bullets that killed Nuon Chan were also removed from his
body by the police. Other journalists working with opposition newspapers have
received death threats in the recent past. Amnesty International has noted
a clear pattern of increasing restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression
and association in Cambodia, as the Royal Government is becoming less and less
tolerant of public criticism.
The KNP was established in November 1995 by prominent government critic Sam
Rainsy. To date, the Ministry of Interior has refused to register the party
as a legal entity, and the KNP has been ordered to close its offices in Phnom
Penh. It has defied the order and continues to recruit membership throughout
the country. Sam Rainsy and his family have received death threats in the
last 18 months, and have been the subject of appeals by Amnesty International.
Thun Bun Ly was followed home from Sam Rainsy's house on the morning of 18
May; he was shot and killed half an hour later.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
English or French or your own language:
if you are able to send telegram or faxed appeals before 1.00am GMT, 22 May:
- ask for assurances that KNP activists be able to attend the funeral of their
colleague Thun Bun Ly, without fear of attack;
otherwise send appeals:
- expressing concern that journalists and political party activists are being
threatened, apparently for exercising their rights to freedom of expression
- calling on the Royal Government to uphold the rights of all people in Cambodia,
including those engaged in journalism and peaceful political opposition;