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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • 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

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and