US human rights envoy urges Cambodian political talks

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The top U.S. diplomat handling human rights issues is calling on Cambodia’s government to release its political prisoners and resume talks with the opposition in order to ease political tensions.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski told reporters Tuesday that he also has urged the government to conduct a thorough investigation of the killing of prominent political commentator Kem Ley, who was shot dead earlier this month.

Cambodian officials say the killer confessed to murdering Kem Ley over a debt, but there is a widespread belief he was killed because of his criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

Malinowski met Monday with Foreign Ministry Secretary of State Ouch Borith for talks on Cambodia’s political situation and human rights.