Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP activists sentenced for 'insurrection'

CNRP activists sentenced for 'insurrection'

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodia National Rescue Party official Meach Sovannara leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday after attending a hearing against him and five fellow opposition activists accused of leading an insurrection. Heng Chivoan

CNRP activists sentenced for 'insurrection'

ELEVEN opposition activists were handed down lengthy prison sentences on Tuesday for their roles in a protest at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park last year that turned violent and left dozens injured.

In a decision that will come as a surprise to many, Judge Lim Makaron ruled that the Cambodia National Rescue Party members were guilty of taking part in an “insurrection” by attending a demonstration led by CNRP lawmakers at the public square on July 15, 2014.

“Eleven activists were sent to jail after the lawyers boycotted the trial today," Sam Sokong, lawyer for the defence, said after the ruling.

Meach Sovannara, the head of the CNRP’s information and media department, was convicted of “leading an insurrection” and sentenced to 20 years. CNRP activists Oeur Narith and Khin Chamroeun, the president of the party’s youth wing, received the same sentence.

Eight other party activists were sentenced to seven years for joining the “insurrection”.

Observers have long asserted that the case of the most prominent member of the group on trial, Sovannara, was being used by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party to exert pressure on the opposition during the long negotiations over new laws governing elections.

In April, the activist was released on bail just hours after the formation of the new National Election Committee – a key part of the negotiations – leading some to express optimism that the case was to be thrown out amid a “culture of dialogue” between Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP president Sam Rainsy.

Thirty-nine security personnel and at least six protesters were injured when opposition demonstrators attacked a group of notoriously violent Daun Penh district security guards at the July protest.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group