Court Announces 37 CNRP Defendants in This Week’s Mass Trial

Mu Sochua attempts to fly to Cambodia, in a photo posted to her Facebook page on January 15, 2021.
Mu Sochua attempts to fly to Cambodia, in a photo posted to her Facebook page on January 15, 2021.
[responsivevoice_button voice="US English Female"]

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court will this week try 37 CNRP leaders, former lawmakers, party activists and supporters for alleged plotting against the state, marking the fifth mass trial the court has initiated against members of the dissolved political opposition.

The first four mass trials — one of which involves more than 60 defendants and has yet to be tried — is largely linked to CNRP leader Sam Rainsy’s failed attempt to return to Cambodia in November 2019. Senior leaders are overseas in exile and have been given decades in prison for convictions in these cases, with some lower-level activists and supporters already in prison facing multiple sentences.

The fifth trial, which was first made public in late August, is related to former CNRP vice president Mu Sochua’s attempt to return to Cambodia to attend one of the mass trials in early 2021. The exiled leader is one of dozens of people who have had their Cambodian passports canceled by the government, with the embassy in the U.S. denying her request for a visa on her American passport. Sochua, like Rainsy, is a dual citizen.

The trial also involves CNRP activists and supporters living overseas, such as Japan, South Korea and France. Three of the accused — Khan Bunpheng, Voeun Veasna and Kong Mas — are already imprisoned or being detained by the court.

Earlier reports indicated that jailed CNRP members like Ir Channa and Voeung Samnang were facing the same charges, but court documents did not list their names for trial this week.

The latest trial indicates the government is unrelenting in its pursuit to prosecute former CNRP members whose actions, both in the country or overseas, courts have ruled as a plot or attack against the nation or the catch-all charge of incitement. This is despite international pressure to drop charges against former CNRP president Kem Sokha, who is still facing a treason charge, and diplomatic calls to stop the targeting of the political opposition.

Sam Rainsy
Former/acting president

Mu Sochua
Vice president

Eng Chhai Eang
Vice president

Tioulong Saumura
Former lawmaker

Ho Vann
Former lawmaker

Ou Chanrith
Former lawmaker

Men Sothavarin
Former lawmaker

Long Ry
Former lawmaker

Mao Vibol
Svay Rieng president

Sot Silat
CNRP supporter in South Korea

Khin Samorn
CNRP supporter in Canada

Chhun Vean
Former CNRP councilor in Siem Reap

Chham Sophorn
CNRP activist from Poipet

Khin Chamroeun
Former CNRP youth leader for Phnom Penh

Khlaing Bun Lay
Former CNRP councilor Banteay Meanchey

Nuth Rumduol
Former lawmaker

Tor Nimol
CNRP activist

Hay Vanna
CNRP activist in Japan

Phorn Phana
CNRP supporter in South Korea

Vann Narith
Former lawmaker

Sor Chandeth
Former SRP senator

Seng Meng Bunrong
CNRP youth activist

Matt Vanny
CNRP supporter in South Korea

Sum Seyha
Youth activist in Kampong Cham

Chhun Sithy
Former CNRP councilor in Pailin

Prak Sarom
CNRP Supporter in New Zealand

Ngim Nheng
Former lawmaker

Voeung Samnang
Former activist

Long Botta
Former lawmaker

Leng Sotheary
CNRP supporter in Canada

Khan Bunpheng
Former commune chief in Battambang

Heng Danaro
Former lawmaker

Kong Mas
CNRP youth activist

Ath Vichet
CNRP activist in Canada

Buth Sokunthea Thierry
CNRP supporter in France
Heng Sokleng
Oun Pov
Sources: VOD, Licadho, Facebook, Radio Free Asia, Human Rights Watch

Correction: An earlier version of this article listed Voeun Veasna as one of the 37 defendants in the trial. However, the CNRP activist in this case is Voeung Samnang.

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.