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10 Aug 2020

Sokhean Ben, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Three of the seven arrested activists are charged with incitement over their involvement in protests to demand release of Rong Chhun

"Seven arrested over protest seeking unionist’s release", 10 August 2020

At least seven people were arrested in Phnom Penh over protests to demand the release of prominent union leader Rong Chhun who was charged ... However, only three of them were charged with “incitement” and sent to pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison.

The arrests were made after the Justice Ministry ... warned it would act against activists who defy a ban on holding protests to demand the release of Chhun.

Sam Sokong, one of Chhun’s defence lawyers, said ... a total of seven people had been arrested ... related to protests to call for Chhun releases. He said he would defend the three who were charged.

Sokong said the three were charged with “incitement to commit a felony or to disturb social security” under Article 495 of the Criminal Code...

He identified them as Chhou Pheng, Chum Puthy,..., and Sar Kanika...

“They just protested, calling for the release of Rong Chhun,” Sokong said. “I think their arrest is not correct because all Cambodians have the right to peaceful assembly. It is a violation of their rights.”... 

Phnom Penh Police chief Lieutenant General Sar Thet recently confirmed the arrests, saying these people attempted to gather more people to protest for Chhun’s release.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said ... that Cambodian authorities have strong evidence to arrest and charge these people...

... the activists also submitted petitions, signed by 15 associations and unions to several embassies in Phnom Penh, including the EU, US, UK, France, Thai, German as well as the International Labour Organisation...