Veasna’s trial to restart on Mon­day

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Soth Keom­soeun

BANTEAY Meanchey Provin­cial Court pro­ceed­ings against im­pris­oned CNRP Poipet Commune Chief Chao Veasna are set to re­sume on Mon­day, a week af­ter a large group of Veasna’s sup­port­ers were blocked by about 100 Mil­i­tary Po­lice of­fi­cers from at­tend­ing a pre­vi­ous hear­ing.

Veasna has been in pre­trial de­ten­tion on “in­cite­ment” charges since he was ar­rested in Fe­bru­ary for al­legedly lead­ing an un­ruly protest that left the Poipet cus­toms of­fice and the Poipet In­ter­na­tional Bor­der Check­point badly dam­aged – a 2015 in­ci­dent that was res­ur­rected months prior to the coun­try’s June commune elec­tions.

Veasna has long main­tained that he was only present as an ob­server and did not or­gan­ise the protest. Ven­dor Yem Visoth and NGO worker Din Puthy were also ar­rested but re­leased soon af­ter.

Puthy was also charged with “in­cite­ment”, while Visoth is be­ing charged with de­struc­tion of pub­lic prop­erty.

Choung Choungy, Veasna’s lawyer, yes­ter­day con­firmed that hear­ings would con­tinue on Mon­day. The sup­port­ers who showed up at the pre­vi­ous hear­ing in­cluded about 50 NGO rep­re­sen­ta­tives and Veasna’s rel­a­tives, he said.

Puthy, pres­i­dent of the Cam­bo­dia In­for­mal Econ­omy Re­in­forced As­so­ci­a­tion, yes­ter­day said the court in­ter­ro­gated Veasna, Visoth and other wit­nesses re­gard­ing “in­cite­ment to com­mit a crime and col­lu­sion to [cause] in­ten­tional dam­age”.

“I hope that the court will work based on the law and drop the charges be­cause I have not com­mit­ted [a crime], nor was I in­volved in the case as ac­cused by the court,” Puthy said. “I hope that I will get jus­tice.”

In­cite­ment charges carry a pun­ish­ment of six months to two years in prison un­der Ar­ti­cle 495 of the Crim­i­nal Code. In­ten­tion­ally dam­ag­ing prop­erty be­long­ing to an­other per­son car­ries the same penalty un­der Ar­ti­cle 410.

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