After several stops and starts, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday will finally hear the case against 11 opposition officials and activists arrested last July on charges of insurrection following a political protest at Freedom Park that turned violent.
The Cambodian National Rescue Party members on trial, among them party information chief Meach Sovannara, face between 20 and 30 years of imprisonment if found guilty. Sovannara and four others are currently detained in Prey Sar prison and have seen numerous bail requests rejected.
The trial has faced a series of delays. In early January, two CNRP lawmakers were banned from court, inciting a boycott by the defence; and in February, the prosecution indefinitely rescheduled the trial after municipal court director Ang Maltey was ousted amid a corruption investigation.
Neang Sokhun, 27, who will be the first to appear in court on Friday, maintained that the charges were politically motivated.
“I did nothing related to insurrection,” he said. “I dared to help society, so [the authority] wants to put pressure on me.”