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Cambodia: 95 international and local NGOs express serious concerns over the conviction of six union leaders in a joint statement despite PM's intervention

Author: Meta Kong, The Phnom Penh Post, Published on: 29 December 2018

"Ninety-five NGOs condemn convictions of union leaders", 25 December 2018

Ninety-five NGOs have issued a joint statement condemning the convictions of six union leaders for their roles in a minimum wage protest at Veng Sreng Boulevard in Phnom Penh....

…, Ath Thorn, Chea Mony, Mam Nhim, Pav Sina, Rong Chhun and Yang Sophorn were each handed two-and-a-half year suspended prison sentences by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and ordered to pay compensation of 35 million riel ($8,750) to two victims, Chea Sophany and Tim Vuthy…

The NGOs’ statement criticised the court for not providing sufficient credible evidence.

“At trial, prosecutors failed to produce any evidence to establish that the six had committed the crimes they were charged with, nor were any witnesses produced to prove the accused had acted violently during the protests."

“Importantly, no evidence was submitted to prove that the six union leaders had instigated any of the acts with which they were charged. Further, none of the actual perpetrators of violence or damage were named or charged,” the statement read."…

Pav Sina, the president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, said he had already filed a complaint to the Appeal Court ...

The president of the Cambodia Alliance of Trade Union Yang Sophorn said she had also filed an appeal … and welcomed the NGOs’ statement…

Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin considered the statement an example of freedom of expression.

“It’s their right to issue [the statement] but dropping the charges is the court’s decision and the decision has already been made,” he said.

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