Mass Trial Continues With Questioning of Jailed CNRP Activists

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Mu Sochua attempts to fly to Cambodia, in a photo posted to her Facebook page on January 15, 2021.
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Phnom Penh court prosecutors continued to question defendants in a fifth mass trial related to former CNRP vice president Mu Sochua’s attempt to return in 2021.

The court is trying 37 senior CNRP leaders and activists in the fifth mass trial investigated by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, alleging that support for Sochua’s planned return fell under the charges of plotting and incitement. The four prior mass trials were linked to opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s attempted return to Cambodia in 2019 and verdicts have been delivered in three of the cases.

The court proceeded with the questioning of defendants in the trial and cross-examined former commune chief Khan Bunpheng, CNRP youth member Kong Mas and party activist Voeung Samnang.

Deputy prosecutor Seng Heang questioned Samnang about a Facebook post from a CNRP activist in South Korea named Sot Silat that called on party supporters to return to Cambodia to welcome Sochua in 2021. Samnang was also asked about another post by another party supporter, Leng Sotheary, who had made a similar appeal.

Samnang said he did not know the two people named by the prosecutor and had not read their posts. He also told the judge that he was not aware of Sochua’s announcement about returning to Cambodia.

“The information about Mu Sochua’s return was broadly disseminated. Why didn’t you know that?” asked judge Yi Sokvuoch.

Voeung Samang said, “I did not know.” 

“Why did you not know? When you just open your Facebook, you will see it,” replied the same judge.

“I did not know,” repeated Samnang.

Bunpheng had similarly said he did not know that Sochua had wanted to come back to Cambodia and had nothing to do with the opposition party after it was dissolved in 2017.

The trial is scheduled to resume on October 20.


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: This article earlier misstated the total number of defendants.

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