Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Plotting’ trial for Rainsy, ex-CNRP activists resumes

‘Plotting’ trial for Rainsy, ex-CNRP activists resumes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 28 resumed the trial against 61 people including former opposition leader Sam Rainsy on charges of plotting and incitement to cause social chaos. Hong Menea

‘Plotting’ trial for Rainsy, ex-CNRP activists resumes

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 28 resumed the trial against 61 people including former opposition leader Sam Rainsy on charges of plotting and incitement to cause social chaos.

But only two defendants, both of whom have not been placed in pre-trial detentions, appeared at the hearing.

Seven defence lawyers were present including Sam Sokong and Lor Chunthy, and five other lawyers who have been assigned by the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia (BAKC) to defend those who did not have a lawyer.

The case stemmed from Rainsy’s plan to return to Cambodia on November 9, 2019, to arrest Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Prum Rath, one of the two defendants, said at the hearing that he was a Cambodian migrant worker in South Korea and was later elected as deputy head of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party’s (CNRP) youth wing based in South Korea.

Rath claimed, however, that he was not active in politics because he was busy with his work at a Korean factory and only occasionally took part in CNRP meetings there. He returned to Cambodia in August 2019 when his work contract ended.

“When I was in Korea, my [youth wing] team worked independently. We wanted to see respects for human right in Cambodia. When I returned to Cambodia, I did not talk politics; I just focused on working to feed my parents,” he said.

But according to a document read in court, Rath had written a Facebook post saying: “We are youths in Korea, Australia, Canada, and Finland. We will return to our country.

“No one seems to care much about our society; they only care about their personal interests, unlike [youths] in other countries. Let’s join hands for the sake of democracy! Let’s advocate and devote ourselves [to this cause]! All Khmer people, let’s stand up to rescue our country!”

Rath told the court that what he wrote was just his personal opinion, claiming he never wrote anything else after arriving in Cambodia and also refrained from involving with the former CNRP.

Chea Yamorn, another defendant who was former CNRP chief in Boeung Tumpun II commune, declined to talk during the hearing and left it to his lawyer instead.

Yamorn later told reporters outside the courtroom that he reserved his rights to remain silent because he did not expect justice from the trial, which he said was politically motivated.

“Only political solution can help clear me of this treason charge. I am a Cambodian, I cannot commit any activities that betray my nation,” Yamorn said.

Presiding Judge Ros Piseth adjourned the hearing and set February 18 as the date to resume trial.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,