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Cambodia: The Court of Appeal acquits six union leaders of charges involved in deadly protests in January 2014 after having been convicted by the court of first instance

Author: Kunthear Mom, Khmer Times, Published on: 30 May 2019

"Appeal Court overturns convictions of six unionists", 30 May 2019

The Court of Appeal ... quashed the convictions of six union leaders found guilty of instigating violence over their roles in minimum wage protests that turned violent in 2013 and early 2014.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court ... found unionists Ath Thorn, Yang Sophorn, Pav Sina, Mom Nhim, Rong Chhun and Chea Mony guilty of charges ranging from instigating violence to causing damage and obstructing traffic...

The Cambodian Labour Confederation, Mr Thorn’s organisation, ... said the conviction was overturned...

“After the conclusion of the closing statements, the panel [of judges] decided that: the appeals by the union leaders and associations were admissible, rendered the trial decisions as moot and ordered the accused be acquitted of any conviction,” it said in a statement... Mr Thorn said he was not involved in the protests when reached by phone... “I did not do the act Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted me of,” he said. “I accept the Court of Appeal decision.”…

Mr Sina, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, ... said Mr Hun Sen played an important role in the Court of Appeal decision... However, Mr Sina noted that the unionists are still facing other charges. “I think all charges against union leaders should be dropped because what we are doing is to improve working conditions for workers,” he said... Mr Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, welcomed the Court of Appeal decision...

Ms Sophorn, Ms Nhim and Mr Mony could not be reached for comment... Moeun Tola, executive director of the labour rights group Central, also welcomed the decision...

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