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29 Apr 2023

Khuon Narim, CamboJA

Cambodia: Phnom Penh Court conclude trial hearing of Naga World union's leaders and members with controversy over evidence as closing arguments near


"NagaWorld Union Leaders’ Trial Nearing End, Court Schedules Closing Arguments", 29 April 2023

The trial of NagaWorld union leader Chhim Sithar and eight union members continued …, as the presiding judge declined to play the more than 50 audio recordings from Zoom meetings requested by the defendants and their lawyers.

“I have asked the court to play the whole audio because it is the root cause of the accusations against me,” Sithar said during the hearing. She claimed that the judicial police had only extracted out of context clips to make a case against her…

Phnom Penh Municipal Court presiding judge Soeung Chakriya denied Sithar’s request to play the full audio recordings and instead played around 30 minutes of audio in which the union members discussed the procedure for holding a strike.

“The court has carried out the procedure independently, we can’t satisfy all parties,” Chakriya said…

Sithar’s lawyer Sam Titheiha expressed disappointment that the full range of audio recordings would not be presented in the court to allow as part of what he said was necessary for a fair and just trial for the defendants…

… Human rights NGO Licadho’s operations director Am Sam Ath, who has attended the hearings, said he did not believe the audio advanced the prosecution’s case and that sufficient evidence of incitement to criminal activity had yet been established.

The case appeared to be merely a labor dispute between employees and the management committee of NagaWorld casino, as opposed to a criminal case, Sam Ath said…