CNRM Appellants to Remain in Prison, Rainsy’s Verdict Delayed

2 min read
CNRP activists enter the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on September 13, 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)
[responsivevoice_button voice="US English Female"]

Thirteen former CNRP activists had their appeal against a lower court conviction linked to the formation of an opposition movement overseas turned down by the Appeal Court on Tuesday.

The activists were convicted and sentenced to prison in March for incitement, plotting and inciting the military to disobey orders in relation to the formation of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement, formed by exiled opposition leaders and their supporters overseas to push the dissolved CNRP’s political agenda.

The scope of the trial also extended to comments the activists made about the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and Sam Rainsy’s attempted return to Cambodia in 2019.

Appeal Court judge Yun Narong announced on Tuesday that the court was upholding the sentences handed by the lower court to the 13 activists.

The 13 activists are Chhun Bunchhat, Long Phary, Khut Chroek, Sun Thun, Yim Sareth, Khim Pheana, Thai Sokunthea, Keo Thai, Nhem Van, Chum Chan, Sok Chantha, Piet Mab and Ngin Phea, who is named Ngin Kheang in court documents.

Only five of the activists were present in court for the hearing. Keo Chansour, the son of activist Keo Thai, said his father and other activists did not come for the trial because they were not in the best of health and could not travel from Correctional Center 3 in Tbong Khmum.

In late August, the prisons department confirmed that some former CNRP activists were moved to the Tbong Khmum prison. Their family members have alleged that the activists were beaten by other inmates under instruction from prison guards.

Sun Thun, one of the activists present in court on Tuesday, shouted that the verdict was an injustice and that the activists were being targeted for not defecting to the ruling CPP.

In a separate case, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court delayed a verdict against former CNRP president Sam Rainsy for a 2013 video showing the opposition leader promising to uphold the rights of indigenous minorities residing in Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng and Kratie.

The video shows a meeting between Rainsy and Kok Ksor, head of the Montagnard Foundation, which advocates for the rights of the Degar community in Vietnam, also known as Montagnards. Rainsy is being convicted for the charge of handing over state land to a foreign entity and faces life in prison if found guilty.

Yong Phanit, his court appointed lawyer, confirmed Tuesday’s hearing was delayed because the judge was busy.

VOD. No part of this article may be reproduced in print, electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission. VOD is not responsible for any infringement in all forms. The perpetrator may be subject to legal action under Cambodian laws and related laws.