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More unionists put under court watch

Two more prominent union leaders have been put under court supervision in connection with mass garment sector strikes that spiralled into violence in December and January.

Cambodian Confederation of Unions president Rong Chhun and Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions president Yang Sophorn have been charged with intentional violence, intentional property damage, threats to cause damage and obstructing traffic.

Last month three other prominent unionists – Ath Thorn of C.CAWDU, Pav Sina of CUMW and Chea Mony of FTU – were laid with the same charges and also put under court supervision.

Chea Sok Heang, an investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said that he made the decision after questioning the pair yesterday.

“I did not detain them but I have put them under the court’s control,” he said. “They have been allowed to return home.”

Both union leaders said the court was being used to stifle worker demonstrations for a higher minimum wage.

They pledged to ignore an order from the court prohibiting them from leading strikes or protests.

”It’s equal to putting me in prison, but it’s a prison without walls,” Chhun said.

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