Cambodian ruling party ex-governor charged with murder

Prosecutors in Cambodia have charged a former provincial governor with killing a National Assembly staffer with whom he was romantically involved, in a rare case in which a senior member of the ruling Cambodian People's Party has faced a major criminal charge.

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman said Lay Vannak, formerly the governor of the southern province of Takeo, was charged Tuesday along with his brother, Gen. Lay Narith, the province's deputy police chief. If convicted of murder each could serve 10-15 years in prison. Premeditated murder carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.

Police originally said that 36-year-old Chev Sovathana had committed suicide by hanging herself at her rented home in Takeo earlier this year, but recently reopened the case and declared it was a murder.