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25 May 2023

Sovann Sreypich & Jack Brook, CamboJA

Cambodia: Phnom Penh Court sentence Naga World Union's leader to 2 years in prison on incitement charges along with her fellow unionists

"NagaWorld Union Leader Chhim Sithar Sentenced to Two Years in Prison", 25 May 2023

Phnom Penh municipal court sentenced NagaWorld union president Chhim Sithar to two years in prison after convicting her of incitement and social unrest … for leading a strike which has been ongoing ...

“I think the accusations lacked basic evidence,” Sithar told … the morning of her verdict. “It’s just, there is not any evidence. They just brought up my personal conversation. It does not relate to our work.”

Five of Sithar’s union colleagues — Chhim Sokhorn, Hay Sopheap, Kleang Soben, Sun Sreypich, Touch Sereymas — were convicted and sentenced to one year and six months. They are now under court supervision, pending a final verdict from the Supreme Court.

Three other union members — Sok Kong Kea, Sok Narith, and Ry Sovandy — were given one year suspended sentences. Sovandy is pregnant.

“It is injustice,” Sreypich told … after the verdict. “For the victims of a labor dispute to become suspects and then convicted by the court. I very much regret the court’s decision.”…

Sithar had repeatedly insisted throughout her trial, which began in February, that the union exhausted all options before initiating a legal strike. She and her eight colleagues were arrested in January last year and placed in pre-trial detention and released on bail in March…

Sithar said that NagaWorld’s management had failed to resolve the labor dispute in good faith, forcing the union to take to the streets in compliance with labor law to demand the reinstatement of 365 laid-off employees and union leaders, along with receiving full severance pay benefits…