Former CNRP Commune Chief Arrested for 2019 Incitement

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CNRP vice president Mu Sochua and former Treng Trayoeng commune chief Kim Tola, in a photo posted to Tola’s Facebook page in July 2015.

A former opposition commune chief in Kampong Speu province was arrested and jailed on Thursday for a crime of incitement dating back to January 2019, the provincial governor said.

Kim Tola, former chief of Phnom Sruoch district’s Treng Trayoeng commune, was already tried and sentenced to one year in jail for incitement to disturb social security before her arrest, said Vei Samnang.

The crime was committed on January 12, 2019, Samnang said. “She was involved with Sam Rainsy,” he said.

“Our country has just gained peace for a short time. If we do not try hard to maintain public order, our country will fall into civil war again, and people will suffer from the destruction,” Samnang said. “So authorities need to try to maintain security and public order.”

Tola was tried and sentenced on April 28, and was also fined 2 million riel, or about $500.

U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported in March 2019 that Tola had fled the country to escape a court summons against her. She had supported one of exiled CNRP co-founder Sam Rainsy’s abortive claims to try to return to the country from France, she told RFA at the time.

The CNRP, formerly the country’s main opposition party, was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 2017 after making major gains in that year’s commune elections.

Continued support for the outlawed party has landed dozens of activists in jail. More than 100 supporters continue to be part of mass trials against the banned opposition that have been put on hold due to Covid-19.

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