Five members of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) party were charged with incitement by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday afternoon and sent to pretrial detention for carrying leaflets calling for public protests and the release of political prisoners, according to an official.
Chim Savoeun, 37; Duong Nanta Ananda, 38; Prak San, 50; Khuon Tam, 67; and Chen Sarith, 53, were arrested on Sunday while gathering at Nanta Ananda’s house in Russei Keo district’s Tuol Sangke commune, with the papers – allegedly intended to be passed out during Water Festival – in Savoeun’s possession.
The leaflets call for the release of fellow KNLF members and prominent politicians whose imprisonment is widely deemed politically motivated.
The group was yesterday charged with incitement to “make chaos” in society and detained ahead of a trial at 4pm today, Phnom Penh Deputy Police Chief Sim Vuthy said.
Sam Serey, the self-exiled leader of the KNLF – which the government has labeled a terrorist group on little evidence – said the charges were an unjust attempt to silence free speech “which [is] in the constitution and UN declaration of human rights”.