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Trial Resumes for Activists Accused of Inciting Violence in 2014 Protest


Phnom Penh Municipal Court this week continued hearings of a group of six political activists accused of inciting violence in a demonstration in July 2014.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court this week continued hearings of a group of six political activists accused of inciting violence in a demonstration in July 2014.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court this week continued hearings of a group of six political activists accused of inciting violence in a demonstration in July 2014.

On Tuesday, three court judges finished questioning one of the activists from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

Meach Sovannara, a US citizen and one of the accused, told reporters outside the hearing that the court has been dragging its heels on the case, due to its political nature.

All six activists are accused of inciting violence in the July 2014 protest, after demonstrators turned on security personnel hired by the city of Phnom Penh to keep them out of Freedom Park, a designated protest space that had been closed in the wake of January 2014 violence. Their supporters say they are being charged and tried for political purposes.

“We, the accused people, feel very difficult in our mind because the court seems to be making a joke of the trial,” Meach Sovannara said. “It’s a waste of our time.”

He and others have been released on bail, but they have been continuously called to the court, and the case is not wrapped up. “We feel that we don’t have freedom, because we can’t go anywhere far away, meaning we feel like the souls of ghosts who can’t be reborn,” he said.

On Tuesday, judges questioned San Kimheng, head of the Rescue Party’s youth group in Tuol Kork district, asking questions similar to those they have asked the five other suspects—over why they had participated in protests at Freedom Park and why protesters near the root of the clashes had been wearing colored cloths.

The trial is expected to resume June 3. ​

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