NagaWorld Union Leader Stays in Jail as Bail Denied

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LRSU president Chhim Sithar, center, speaks to union members outside the Ministry of Labor after negotiations in March 2022. (VOD)

Chhim Sithar will remain in pretrial detention for incitement after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court turned down the casino union leader’s appeal for bail, a rights group said.

Sithar was arrested late last month after returning from an overseas labor conference.

Initially arrested in January over ongoing worker protests against NagaWorld, she was released on bail after promising she would stop participating.

Licadho, a local human rights NGO, said on Monday that its lawyer, who was part of Sithar’s legal team, had received a notice from the court today that she would remain in detention.

Sithar was rearrested at the Phnom Penh airport after returning from Australia. Authorities said she had been banned from traveling as part of her earlier bail conditions, but her defense has said they had not been told of the restriction.

Another of her lawyers, Sam Chamroeun, said he was busy Monday afternoon and could not immediately comment.

NagaCorp laid off 1,300 workers amid Covid-19 and is accused of union-busting for targeting labor leaders who the workers say should have been protected from termination.

More than 100 workers continue to resist their terminations as the protests against the Phnom Penh casino reach almost one year.

Dozens of protesters stood outside NagaWorld in orange prison jumpsuit-like outfits on Monday in support of Sithar, a live video by worker Mam Sovathin showed.

In addition to several union leaders like Sithar who still face incitement charges, some others have been questioned over an unclear NagaCorp court complaint about alleged breaking and entering. Unionists have also been summoned to testify over the company’s request for a court ruling on the protracted labor dispute.

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