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Cambodia: Phnom Penh Municipal Court delay trial hearings of activists arrested and charged after protests demanding release of detained union leader

"Defendant says police statements fabricated in ‘incitement’ trial of 15 charged for supporting jailed union leader", 31 December 2020

The trial of 15 youth activists and … over protests supporting jailed union leader Rong Chhun was postponed …, with the judge agreeing to summons police officials to verify the legitimacy of statements presented in the name of one of the defendants…

After a request from defense lawyer Sam Sokong, judge Tith Sothy Borachat adjourned the trial so that the relevant officials could be summonsed to verify statements taken from Pheng…

Rong Chhun was arrested … and charged with incitement to disturb social security for remarks he made in an interview ...

Youth activists Hun Vannak, Chhoeun Daravy, Eng Malai, Koeut Saray and Tha Lavy, from Khmer Thavrak, and Mean Prummony and Moung Sopheak, of the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association, face the same charges, and were present in court.

Ny Sokha, head of monitoring for local rights group Adhoc, was present for the hearing and said that the line of questioning suggested that Pheng was being prosecuted for raising funds and collecting people to rally in support of Chhun.

“In any democratic country, those activities are not illegal,” Sokha said outside the court, adding that citizens had the legal right to gather in protest of a judicial decision that they see as unjust…

“Activists rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were regularly trampled by the Cambodian authorities in both a literal and figurative sense,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement looking back at 2020…

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