The Ratanakkiri provincial court on Monday charged two Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) activists of “plotting and incitement to cause serious unrest to the national society”, court spokesman Keo Piseth said.
“Police sent them to court on [Monday] morning after their detention in O’Yadav district. The prosecutor charged Ngin Sophat, 56, and Thoeun Bunthorn, 50, with plotting and incitement to cause serious unrest to national society,” Piseth said.
National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun said on Monday: “We accused them of galvanising and joining a treasonous movement. They spread plans to go against the government and to overthrow [it]”.
Khoeun declined to provide specifics regarding Sophat and Bunthorn’s actions.
He said the police were obliged to take strict measures against the accused and that the only people who should be worried are those involved in CNRP “acting president” Sam Rainsy’s plot to topple the government.
“We have evidence and we would not arrest them without it. We have proof that they carried out [treasonous] activities. We have a video clip of [it],” Khouen stressed.
Provincial police chief Yin Chamnan declined to comment on the case when contacted by The Post on Monday.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said that a crackdown on former CNRP activists would only make the Kingdom’s political situation tenser.
“The international community is keeping an eye on Cambodia’s application and respect for democracy and human rights. If we continue to make arrests, they will continue to pressure us further. The situation will go from bad to worse,” he said.
Yi Soksan, the deputy head of NGO Adhoc, told The Post that he considered the arrests to be “intimidation and restrictions” on the rights and freedoms of citizens.
“If this arrest is based only on their expression of views on social media or other means, it is the violation of national and international laws that guarantee the people’s rights and freedom of expression.
“Once a series of arrests for the expression of views is made, it will make other people concerned and they will become afraid to express their views too,” he said.