Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former CNRP activists told to testify in court over ‘plotting’



Former CNRP activists told to testify in court over ‘plotting’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Authorities​ pin court summons on the gate of former CNRP office at Chak Angre Krom Communce, Meanchey District, on November 14, 2020. FN

Former CNRP activists told to testify in court over ‘plotting’

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summonsed 67 activists of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to testify in relation to plotting and incitement to caused social chaos. The acts were allegedly committed last year.

The summons issued by deputy prosecutor Seng Heang identified six of them as Kruy Sokhemrith, Seng Khorn, Tith Sophat, Roeurng Samnang, Khin Sokheang and Men Yorn and ordered them to appear on the morning of November 26.

Lawyer Sam Sokong, who was named in the summons to defend the cases on November 26, told The Post on November 15 he was unsure of how many clients he would represent as others implicated in the cases were also seeking his help.

“For those whom I cannot defend, I think the court will request the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia [BAKC] to handle them. The cases involve criminal offences so defence lawyers are need,” he said.

Municipal court spokesman Y Rin told The Post on November 15 that summons for 67 of the 68 activists were attached with a letter inviting lawyers to defend them because they were involved in plotting and incitement to cause social chaos. He said that does not mean lawyers mentioned in the cases were involved with the criminal offences.

“As of November 15, not only lawyer Sam Sokong has been named to defend the cases. The bar association has also assigned lawyers Yong Phanith, Sin Sovorn, Chhe Vibol, Chum Iek, Nhor Nhen and Ly Ratana to defend the accused,” he said.

Rin said the number of defence lawyers to represent the cases will vary depending on the actual situation as the accused might seek their help prior to the scheduled hearing.

None of the activists could be reached for comment. But former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanroth was of the view that the plotting and incitement charges were too serious considering the political roles those activists played within the CNRP.

“I think they have the right to enter [politics]. As for the plotting charges, we don’t know whether they had the intention of toppling the government or not. Maybe they thought they were merely joining a movement to seek a change of the government, or maybe they were just exercising their [political] rights without intending to topple the government,” he said.

Chanroth added that even if they had an intention of toppling the government, the authorities should consider whether the activists had any influence in their calls for a change of leadership.

“In my opinion, first, they have no ability to do so. Second, there is no evidence proving they could do so. I think the court might exert pressure on that opposition group,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting