Phnom Penh Municipal Court opened the trials of six union leaders concerning their roles in the violent protests following the 2013 election and will announce its verdict on December 11. None of the accused was present.
The six union leaders are: Chea Mony, former president of the Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia; Ath Thorn, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union; Yang Sophorn, president of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions; Pav Sina, president of the Collective Union of Movement of Workers; former unionist Rong Chhun; and Mom Nhim, president of the National Independent Federation Textile Unions of Cambodia.
They are charged with intent to commit violence, intent to cause damage, threats to cause damage and obstructing traffic during the massive protests in late December 2013/early 2014 by garment workers demanding a higher minimum wage.
The protests, contemporaneous with demonstrations by CNRP supporters refuting the 2013 election results, culminated in January 2014 when authorities opened fire along Veng Sreng Boulevard, causing dozens of injuries and five deaths.
Two police officers testified that they were sent to regulate traffic on Veng Sreng Boulevard, were bombarded with stones and injured. Officer Tim Vuthy from 7 Makara district demanded $10,000 restitution for the blinding of his left eye by a protester’s missile.
The lawyers representing Mr Thorn, Ms Sophorn, Mr Chhun and Mr Sina said that there is no evidence of their clients’ involvement in such actions, and asked that the charges be dropped.
The Garment Manufacturers Association wrote to the court on Wednesday (Dec. 5) withdrawing its complaint against the unionists.