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Cambodia: Former union leader and two activists stand their last trial session while verdict will be announced on 18 August

"In closing arguments, defense argues insufficient evidence to convict Rong Chhun and two activists in border incitement case", 30 July 2021

In … closing arguments in the border incitement trials of prominent unionist Rong Chhun and activists Sar Kanika and Ton Nimol, the defense called for a full acquittal on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

Chhun, who is president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions and a member of the Cambodian Watchdog Council, was arrested … and has since been held in pre-trial detention…

Over a three-hour-period in the hearing room, defense attorneys Choung Choungy, Sam Sokong and Ket Khy asked for the acquittal of all three defendants.

The lawyers made a point of distinguishing the cases of Chhun from those of the youth activists, who they said had not gone to the border nor shared Chhun’s comments online. The lawyers also asserted their client Chhun had only published a statement based on other people’s comments that farmers in Tbong Khmum had lost land during the border demarcation…

Choungy said the statement had not been incitement but rather a request to the government to strengthen measures to prevent foreigners from abusing people’s land…

Though Chhun’s case took up much of the time, the defense lawyers said the charges against Kanika and Nimol are separate from that of the union leader, as they had only joined the protest demanding his release…

The verdicts of the three defendants will be announced on August 18.

Am Sam Ath, the deputy director of human rights group Licadho who joined to monitor the hearing, said the charges against Chhun and the other defendants are unreasonable…

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