Phnom Penh Municipal court has dropped an incitement charge against a former unionist who was sued in 2017 after he allegedly called on the European Union to impose sanctions against Cambodia.
In a December letter and only made public yesterday, Investigating Judge Seng Rithy said the incitement charge against Chea Mony, former president of the Free Trade Union, was dropped.
“We decided to drop a charge against the accused Chea Mony, 48, as of December 28, 2018 onward,” Judge Rithy said, adding that the investigation into Mr Mony’s incitement case was concluded.
Mr Mony was charged with incitement to commit a felony by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2017 after a complaint against him was filed by a group of federations and unions.
The complaint said that Mr Mony’s comments could damage the livelihoods of about 700,000 workers employed in the garment industry.
Mr Mony could not be reached for comment yesterday, but he told Khmer Times at the time that his words were of no leverage and could not pressure the EU to impose sanctions.
FTU vice president Mann Seng Hak, who is Mr Mony’s former colleague, hailed the judge’s decision, saying that the court should drop all charges hanging over Mr Mony.
“I am happy to hear that the court dropped charge against my former president. I used to work with Mr Mony. He was a good union leader who always helped workers. He did not have the intention to ask the EU to impose sanctions against Cambodia at all,” Mr Seng Hak said.
In December, Mr Mony, along with Mom Nhim, Ath Thorn, Yang Sophorn, and Pav Sina, and former unionist Rong Chhun, were found guilty of instigating violence over their roles in protests from December 2013 to January 2014, and the court handed them two years and six months in jail, but their sentences were suspended.
Prior to that, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged relevant officials to speed up and end lawsuits against union leaders by the end of the year.
He said Mr Mony, Mr Thorn and Mr Sina were not involved in the 2013 protests which turned violent along Phnom Pemh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard.