Three Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) activists have been placed in pre-trial detention after their arrests over the weekend, a former CNRP Kampong Thom executive committee member said on Wednesday.
They had been charged by Kampong Thom Provincial Court with insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen and spreading propaganda, after four men were arrested over the course of Saturday and Sunday, with one released the same day, he said.
Two of the detained activists were charged with four offences, while the third was yet to be informed of his charges, he added.
Thai Thim, a former member of the CNRP’s Kampong Thom Executive Committee, told The Post on Wednesday that Ros Kim Sieng, a former party youth leader; Sun Bunthun, a former Baray commune councillor; Nou Phoeun, a district activist; and Miech Voeun, an activist in Baray district’s Chhouk Khsach commune, had been arrested.
Voeun was released after his arrest on Saturday.
The court charged Bunthun and Phoeun and placed them in pre-trial detention on Monday.
Thim said Kim Sieng was placed in pre-trial detention on Tuesday but was yet to be told of his charges.
“Sun Bunthun and Nou Phoeun were charged by the court with insulting the prime minister on the phone, incitement to discriminate, sharing information on social media apparently insulting government leadership and sharing propaganda on the return of Sam Rainsy,” Thim said.
Thim said he thought the arrests were meant to intimidate anyone intending to welcome CNRP “acting president” Rainsy on his announced return to Cambodia on November 9.
Kim Sieng’s brother-in-law was arrested on Tuesday evening after visiting him at the police station, Thim claimed.
He had photographed Kim Sieng handcuffed while the provincial police were sending him to court and shared the pictures on Facebook, he said.
Kim Sieng’s brother-in-law was in no way a CNRP activist, Thim stressed.
Kampong Thom Provincial Court spokesman Van Seng declined to comment to The Post on Wednesday, referring questions to provincial prosecutor Ith Sothea, who could not be reached.
Kampong Thom Provincial Governor Sok Lou told The Post on Monday that he was sure the arrests had been made according to the law.
“If [the four] had not done anything wrong, they would not have been arrested. Our country has laws prohibiting people from doing wrong. In a law-abiding country, if anyone does wrong, he or she is punished, whether with an opposition party or not,” Lou said.
Sok Rotha, the provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said it was investigating the arrests of the former CNRP activists after their families issued a complaint.
“We are yet to conclude as to why they were detained,” Rotha said.