Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Capital court drops charges against Tola



Capital court drops charges against Tola

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Moeun Tola speaks to reporters outside the Phnom penh Municipal Court after being questioned last November. Heng Chivoan

Capital court drops charges against Tola

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday said it had dropped the breach of trust charges against labour rights activist Moeun Tola.

The charges related to a complaint filed by Cambodian Youth Party president Pich Sros over the mishandling of the funeral budget for slain political analyst Kem Ley in 2016, despite the fact that nobody in Ley’s family had filed a complaint.

Also charged were But Buntenh, founder of the Independent Monk Network, and independent media advocate Pa Nguon Teang, who have both fled abroad and still face court action.

The charges carry a punishment of one to three years in prison, and a fine of two million to six million riel (about $500 to $1,500).

“It has been decided that the charges against Moeun Tola, 43, over trust breach conducted in Phnom Penh in 2016, based on articles 391 and 392 of the Criminal Code, should be dropped as there is not enough evidence [against the accused],” the court said.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ey Rin said the municipal court decided to drop the charges against Moeun Tola, who was a former member of Ley’s funeral committee, on Tuesday.

“Dropping the charges is the provision of justice for me as I had argued since the beginning that the allegation is not true because I have not done as accused,” said Moeun Tola, who is executive director of the NGO the Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (Central).

He said the court should focus its efforts to further investigate the murder of Ley rather than people honestly helping to arrange his funeral.

Sros’ complaint against the three activists came after Buntenh pointed out that Sros himself had spent $2,300 on costs for a fundraiser that earned a mere $750 for a memorial stupa for Ley.

The second anniversary of Ley’s shooting was commemorated on Tuesday.

Sros, whose party is campaigning in the upcoming national elections, said he agreed to accept the court’s decision but felt he had the right to file the complaint as he had his suspicions.

“If the court does not find any wrongdoing and finds [Tola] innocent, I have no power to challenge [so] we accept the result accordingly,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration