Cambodian Police Suppress Protest by Family Members of Detained CNRP Activists

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Authorities dominated a protest by 25 relatives of arrested resistance to National Rescue Party (CNRP) activists Friday in the front of the Phnom Penh Municipal courtroom, in which they had been demanding the release of the husbands and dads, a number of the activists’ wives told RFA.

Friday’s rally was the fifth such protest arranged by relatives of those 17 CNRP activists who were detained at Prey Sar Prison on charges of”incitement to commit a felony”

As in previous protests, police officers descended on the scene and confiscated or destroyed their banner ads, ordering the crowd to spread.

Once departing the place, the protesters marched to the Embassy of Australia to submit a request asking for the Embassy to intervene in the situation. The request was approved by embassy officials that promised to track the circumstance.

The spouse of one of those arrested activists told RFA’s Khmer Service she and other fans of this CNRP spent private funds to go to Phnom Penh to protest. She asserts the innocence of her husband, Commune Councilor Las Chheng Lai of Bavel district in Battambang province.

“My husband didn’t hurt anybody. He’s a gentleman. Everyone loves him [the court] enticed him. I Can’t accept that,” said Leng Lei,

“it’s quite barbarous and nothing compares to it,” she explained.

Leng Lei stated she and many others had their own banner ads torn out of their hands.

“When I arrived to need my husband’s discharge they shot my banner . It’s quite barbarous and unfair to me personally as a Cambodian citizen. Authorities didn’t enable us to protest banners, thus we could not reveal [the people] that which we’re demanding,” she explained.

Yet another spouse, Sok Bolyma, demanded that the court discharge her husband Phsar Depo 3 Commune Councilor Khem Phenakry along with another 16 activists immediately.

“I advocate all of the CNRP members to stand with victims such as us if you cannot take part in our own protests. We’re the actual sufferers,” she explained.

“The water has risen as large as the nooses around our necks, therefore everybody must awaken and never be fearful, because if we’re fearful they will step . I’m not fearful. In the event the court doesn’t discharge my husband I’m ready to die facing the courtroom. I’m not scared of death, therefore [I urge] everybody to stand up,” she explained.

RFA tried to get Ministry of Justice spokesman Chin Malin for comment, but couldn’t reach him. Formerly he had stated that because the activists’ instances are already in court, nobody can interfere with the due process of the judicial procedure.

Injuries sustained

Before this week at five CNRP activists’ wives complained they were hurt during their fourth protest before the courthouse July 10.

Sam Chenda, the spouse of a CNRP activist in Kampong Thom province told RFA that guards assaulted her and strangled her, leaving her bruises and not able to work.

“My hands are swollen. My entire body hurts,” she explained July 10.

However, the authorities denied any wrongdoing.

“We didn’t [assault them] Do you’ve got evidence to show that the authorities were violent? We just stopped them from going to the court. We didn’t strike them,” Phnom Penh Police Chief Sar Thet told RFA on precisely the exact same day.

Right to protest

The CNRP activists’ wives have the right to protest under Cambodian law based on Soeung Sen Karuna, spokesman for its locally established Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC).

“Everybody knows that these are politically motivated scenarios,” he explained.

[The government] needs to solve them to finish the catastrophe and facilitate political tensions in Cambodia and restore human rights and democracy. It’d be a benefit to the nation and might help to prevent [international] pressure,” he added.

Soeung Sen Karuna explained that the motion would become bigger if the court fails to solve the people’s requirements.

The movement to prohibit the CNRP was a part of a larger crackdown from Prime Minister Hun Sen about the political opposition, NGOs, and the individual press that paved the way for his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to triumph most 125 seats in parliament from the nation’s July 2018 general election.

Last month, several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) urged Cambodia’s government to stop arresting those critical of its policies, such as resistance activists, stating the effort is a breach of the rights and will result in a”social split” which will be ruinous for the country.

Also last month, 30 neighborhood groups–such as Adhoc, Licadho, and Comfrel–issued a joint statement stating the authorities and the CNRP must”go back to the bargaining table to solve their political problems for the interest of society, and also to honor political and civil rights and freedom of expression”

supplied by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English from Eugene Whong.


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