UA: 204/14 Index: ASA 23/007/2014 Cambodia, 15 August 2014
Amnesty International Urgent Action
OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS ARRESTED, CHARGED
Five youth members and two officials from Cambodia’s main opposition party are facing arbitrary and politically motivated legal action over a protest which ended in violence on 15 July 2014.
On 15 July there were violent clashes between Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) supporters and district public order personnel at a demonstration against the closure of Freedom Park in the capital, Phnom Penh, and to call for a ban on peaceful assemblies to be lifted. The Cambodian authorities have claimed that 38 public order personnel were injured, some of them critically. At least six CNRP supporters were also injured.
Seven CNRP members of parliament and a mobilisation official were arrested between 15 and 17 July and charged with instigating violence, incitement and leading an insurrection. They were released on bail after spending a week in prison. Charges against the MPs have not been followed up because they have parliamentary immunity. The official, Oeur Narith, was questioned again by the court on 13 August.
The head of the CNRP’s youth wing, Khin Chamrouen, was arrested on 2 August, as were the party’s Phnom Penh youth leaders Neang Sokhun and San Kimheng. They have been charged with joining an “insurrection” and other offences. They are in pre-trial detention in Prey Sar CC1 prison in Phnom Penh and have been refused bail. Their appeal against denial of bail will be heard on 22 August. Around 13 August, another three CNRP members were summonsed for questioning in relation to the 15 July events: youth members San Seyhak and Tep Narin, and party official Meach Sovannara.
Amnesty International considers the legal action to be arbitrary, politically motivated and designed to silence dissent, in violation of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and to freedom from arbitrary detention.