Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP activists charged, others remain on the run

CNRP activists charged, others remain on the run

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Dung Sovannarith was sent to pre-trial detention for the charges against him. Supplied

CNRP activists charged, others remain on the run

Seven supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) from four provinces are facing five to 10 years in prison under Article 453 of the Criminal Code for “plotting”.

The Kampong Cham Provincial Court on Monday charged one CNRP activist and sent him to prison. The Pailin Provincial Court charged four alleged CNRP supporters in absentia after they fled.

Meanwhile, the Oddar Meanchey and Svay Rieng provincial courts are looking for two suspected CNRP supporters who similarly fled.

In a press release, the Prosecutors Office of the Pailin Provincial Court named the four suspects as Ven Dara, 60, female; Chhun Sithy, 40, male; Khin Pun, 64, male; and Huy Huon, 68, male.

It added that the four accused “have not been arrested yet as they have left their local area”.

The Prosecutors Office of the Pailin Provincial Court said: “The charges involve the actions of Ven Dara, also known as Puch, who gave an interview to Radio Free Asia in August.

“Chhun Sithy, also known as Teacher Thy, Huy Huon and Khin Pun [are wanted for] providing venues for meetings and spreading misinformation via Facebook with the [intention] to provoke and mobilise the public in toppling the Cambodian government.”

Pailin Provincial Court spokesman Poly Oudom could not be reached for comment over the charges, but Kampong Cham Provincial Court spokesman Chum Naran said an investigating judge decided to send Dung Sovannarith, 47, to pre-trial detention for the charges against him.

A press release issued by the Kampong Cham Provincial Court’s Prosecutors Office said Sovannarith, had “mobilised and gathered citizens in Batheay district, while disseminating and taking photos of their fingers raised as a sign of support for convict Sam Rainsy’s effort to topple the government on November 9, 2019”.

The press release included a warning that “those involved in supporting or participating in implementing the plot to stage a coup and topple the legitimate government will face charges and be sent to court to be sentenced in accordance with the law”.

On September 27, a Kampong Cham Provincial Court investigating judge sentenced Soeun Seang, 43, to prison on charges of plotting.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court asked its investigating judge to issue an arrest warrant for Monh Sarath – a suspected former CNRP activist who is also charged with plotting.

Oddar Meanchey Provincial Court spokesman Hang Hydra said the Prosecutors Office requested the investigating judge to issue an arrest warrant after Sarath failed to appear in court to defend himself against the charges against him.

“He fled. The prosecutor asked the investigating judge to issue an arrest warrant but he has not issued it yet. Now there is only this suspect involved in the plot with Sam Rainsy outstanding,” Hydra told The Post.

The Svay Rieng Provincial Court said its investigating judge may also issue an arrest warrant for Mao Vibol, 37.

Vibol also fled after charges of plotting and incitement to commit a felony under Articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code were brought against him in absentia.

Svay Rieng provincial court spokesman Tep Phalla said: “The prosecutor has charged Vibol with plotting and for failure to appear. The case has been sent to the investigating judge who is taking further action in accordance with the prosecutor’s request.”

A total of nine former CNRP supporters were charged and placed in pre-trial detention for “plotting and incitement to provoke serious chaos to public and national security”.

The arrests came after CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy appealed to the armed forces and people of Cambodia to support his return to Cambodia on Constitution Day.

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