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Cambodia: 141 CSOs call for the release of prominent union leader & demand his charges incitement over his Facebook post to be dropped

"Drop All Charges Against Arrested Union Leader Rong Chhun", 03 August 2020

We, the undersigned civil society groups, strongly condemn the nighttime arrest of Rong Chhun and call on the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to immediately drop all charges against the union leader and release him from pre-trial detention.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun was arrested by police at his home … after the government’s Cambodia Border Affairs Committee publicly called on authorities to take action against the unionist for his comments following a visit to the Cambodia-Vietnam border ...

Chhun was taken to Phnom Penh Municipal Court … and charged with “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest” under articles 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code before being sent to pre-trial detention in Phnom Penh’s notoriously overcrowded Correctional Centre 1… This charge – which could see Rong Chhun sentenced to up to two years in prison – is a clear violation of the unionist’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Cambodia’s constitution. 

Rong Chhun has been an outspoken advocate for workers’ rights in Cambodia for decades, …, the union leader joined a group of more than 200 garment workers who gathered to submit a petition outside the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen to ask for his help following their factory’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

…, he was arrested again alongside ten other human rights defenders while publicly calling for the release of almost two dozen demonstrators arrested during the widespread protests...

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