Interview: ‘What my husband did was for the sake of the nation. I always supported him

Rachana’s husband, the popular government critic and scholar Kem Ley was murdered on July 10, the country and the family have been struggling to come to grips with his death. While the government has arrested a former soldier for his murder, there appears to be little confidence in the ability of authorities to solve the crime.

In an interview with the RFA Khmer Service journalist Chun Chanboth of the RFA Radio Call-In Show on Friday, Bou Rachan, who is six-months pregnant, discussed the difficulties the killing has caused for her and her family, their need for closure and their desire to see Kem Ley’s work continue.

RFA: Have you received any update from the authorities regarding their investigation into your husband’s murder?

Bou Rachana: No, I haven’t. Since the day my husband died, I have not received any news from the authorities.

RFA: Have you been approached or informed by the authorities at all?

Bou Rachana: No, I haven’t. Not even a single bit!

RFA: Do you think you would like for the authorities to give you access to the security camera videos that may show his death?

Bou Rachana: Yes, I do. I would like the authorities to give me access to the security camera footage so that I can see the murder.

RFA: Have you made that request to the authorities?

Bou Rachana: No, I haven’t yet. I couldn’t manage to do so for I had been too overwhelmed with the funeral.

RFA: Will you make such request in the near future?

Bou Rachana: Yes, I will.

RFA: Please describe for us your life 25 days after your husband’s death.

Bou Rachana: I am still very shocked and saddened. I am missing him so dearly.

RFA: What about your kids? I heard that one of them wanted to commit suicide. Is that true?

Bou Rachana: All my kids are missing their father so dearly. None of them has returned to school yet. My third son wanted to commit suicide after he felt very sad for the loss of his father. He used to receive love and care from his father and he doesn’t get that any more.

RFA: What do you do to help them deal with that situation?

Bou Rachana: I have asked them to be strong for their future. Now that their father is no longer with them, I encouraged them to concentrate on their studies so that they can follow their father’s footsteps.

RFA: Are you afraid to let them follow their father’s footsteps?

Bou Rachana: No, I am not. What my husband did was for the sake of the nation. I always supported him.

RFA: Do you want to find out who is behind the murder?

Bou Rachana: Yes, I do. I would like to call on the government to find justice for us.

RFA: Do you think you will find a lawyer to help you with this?

Bou Rachana: I haven’t thought about it yet for I have still been too overwhelmed with his loss.

Source: 1998-2016, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036