Mass Trial: Antiterrorism Police Say Support for Rainsy’s Return Was Incitement

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Defense lawyer Choung Chou Ngy and defendant Seng Chan Theary speak outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on March 15, 2022. (Ouch Sony/VOD)

Antiterrorism and cross-border crimes police said CNRP defendants linked to or supporting Sam Rainsy’s planned return in 2019 were engaging in incitement.

One of two ongoing mass trials involving CNRP leaders and members resumed on Tuesday, with police officials who were part of the investigations questioned about evidence presented in court.

The evidence included messages showing defendant Seng Chan Theary expressing her support for Rainsy’s planned return.

Judge Ros Piseth asked if Seng Theary’s comments that she supported the return plans was equal to receiving an order.

Pech Sotharath, deputy director at the department dealing with antiterrorism and cross-border crimes, said: “This is an act of supporting, inciting, encouraging and supporting the activities of Sam Rainsy in toppling the legitimated government.”

Another deputy director from the same department, Bin Sambathphara said a meeting in Malaysia — which was attended by another defendant, Tum Bunthorn, and former CNRP lawmaker and Rainsy’s wife Tiuolong Samura — was also incitement.

Chan Theary also spoke about one of the nine pieces of evidence presented against her, in which she allegedly posted about fake education certificates purchased by the Hun Sen family. 

She said the writing was not her style and denied drafting it, but argued there was nothing wrong in the content because it was within the rights people have in a democratic country. 

The trial will resume on March 21 when the court plans to review the evidence presented.

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