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FBI investigate death of Cambodian journalist

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Two FBI agents arrived in Cambodia this week to help investigate the killing in July of local journalist Khim Sambo and his son. Khim was gunned down in the streets of the Cambodia capital in July. The Cambodian Ministry of the Interior reportely invited the duo to contribute in a "purely supportive" role,
Chan Soveth, a program officer with the Cambodian rights group Adhoc, expressed concern that the FBI was not taking a more aggressive role in the investigation. "If the FBI cannot work independently, [their assistance] is just a political game," he said. Chan Soveth arrived at the scene of the July 11 double homicide about 30 minutes after it occurred and has been investigating the killings ever since. According to Chan Soveth's recently completed preliminary assessment, Khim Sambo's reporting for the Sam Rainsy-affiliated newspaper Moneak-sekar Khmer had frequently prompted threats from powerful individuals. link
I do wonder why two FBI officers from a country with no seeming connection with the case, most probably cannot speak a word of Khmer have been invited by the government to help in the case. Maybe I'm missing something.


John Vink | September 20, 2008 8:35 AM

The FBI has an office here in Penh since a few months. I guess there must be Khmer informers working for them and I also guess that the FBI agents will maybe be able to work a little bit more independently than their Cambodian colleagues. Also: the FBI conducted a separate investigation in the grenade attack on a Sam Rainsy Party demonstration in front of the Natl Assembly back in March 1997 which killed 20 people. The results of that particular investigation have remained somewhat obscured though...

Isabelle Roughol | October 8, 2008 5:54 AM

Actually, it is not the Cambodian government that invited but the US Embassy that offered help, since —as John mentioned— the FBI has an attaché here (i.e. Phnom Penh).

They recently said the investigation was about finished, and an FBI artist created portraits of 2 suspects but they have yet to be released to the public. No information has transpired yet on the findings of the investigation.