CNRP Videos of ‘Movement’ Shown as Evidence in Mass Trial

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Former CNRP president Sam Rainsy speaks at the launch of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement in Long Beach, U.S., on January 28, 2018. (CNRM Facebook page)

Seven video clips were presented at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday as evidence of plotting and incitement in ongoing mass trials against the dissolved opposition CNRP.

Presiding judge Ros Piseth on Thursday morning continued the trial into Case 887, which involves 21 CNRP leaders and supporters, and is part of several mass trials against the opposition party dissolved in 2017. The case has spotlighted critical comments made by CNRP officials about Covid-19 and the formation of an overseas “Cambodia National Rescue Movement” in 2018.

The videos presented on Thursday dated from January and February 2018, featuring party co-founder Sam Rainsy and vice president Eng Chhai Eang talking about the CNRM.

One 46-minute video was a talk show with U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia, where Chhai Eang spoke of the movement’s five principles — diplomacy, seeking economic sanctions, encouraging peaceful protest, appealing to the armed forces to remain neutral, and urging workers to demand their labor rights.

Another video was a Radio France Internationale interview with Rainsy, who said the movement had myriad supporters in and out of the country.

“There are many sources: some from the CNRP, civil society, human rights organizations, environmental organizations, journalists — but we don’t need them to show their faces.”

Asked whether he was seeking more support, Rainsy said he and others would work to make the CNRP active again.

“I can’t stay still. I need to initiate the rebirth of the CNRP reborn,” Rainsy said. “The CNRM will be a tool to push the CNRP to be active again and participate in elections.”

Rainsy also appealed to the armed forces to not listen to orders from “the dictator” and to not kill innocent people.

In another video interview with RFA, Rainsy said: “Please people don’t link fates with Hun Sen. He is a criminal. He committed a lot of bad deeds.”

At one point, Rainsy compared the government to the Khmer Rouge regime as people were being arrested and charged if they did not support them.

The presentation of evidence is set to continue on January 13.

Accusations of being part of a rebel movement have led to widespread threats and arrests against groups and individuals, including environmental group Mother Nature, former commune officials from the CNRP, and most recently striking workers from Phnom Penh casino NagaWorld.

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