A repeatedly delayed incitement trial for 14 activists in Tbong Khmum province has been scheduled again for next week, with families pleading for movement in the case — but a court spokesman said further potential delays would be up to the discretion of the judge.
The Tbong Khmum Provincial Court issued a notice for a trial hearing on June 17, warning that those who “do not show up to the trial, do not give information on the status of witnesses, or give false information, will be punished by the law.”
Tbong Khmum families previously said that 12 of the defendants in the case were political opposition activists, with eight of them in jail and four on the run. The other two defendants were land activists, they said last month, when the previous trial hearing date was delayed.
The notice listed one defendant, Vann Narith, as an instigator for incitement to disturb social security via Facebook, while the other 13 were charged as accomplices to incitement.
Their families have previously said that the case relates to plans to join a protest outside the Chinese Embassy last year for the anniversary of the 1991 Paris Peace Agreements.
Srey Seath, the wife of Su Yean, one of the alleged accomplices, said the repeated delays had caused uncertainty for the family, which relied on Yean for their livelihood.
Yean was arrested in October — eight months ago — but Seath said she feared there would not even be a trial until the end of this year.
“We don’t know how he has been doing,” Seath added. “He had been sick since before they arrested him. … I can’t sleep because I’m concerned about my husband.”
Toek Soklorn, the wife of another alleged accomplice, Proa Chanthoeun, said she would go to court next week hoping to attend the trial.
“They have not found him guilty yet but they have already imprisoned him for about six months. They just want to punish my husband from one month to another month,” Soklorn said.
“I would be satisfied to see and meet him. … I am not sure if the money I have sent has reached him or not.”
Court spokesman Theng Cheang, however, said Thursday afternoon that whether the trial would be held or delayed would be up to the discretion of the judge.
“It is up to the judge to make the decision whether to delay or not delay,” Cheang said.
The court notice named the remaining defendants as Mok Sam An, Proa Chanthoeun, Leap Sokpheng, Um Yeath, Sem Chamnan, Phon Sophal, Khlich Vy, Su Yean, Khon Ton, Chea Samon, Nhim Thon and Taing Sophon, with one of the names illegible in the electronic image obtained by reporters.