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Monday, March 8, 2021

Cambodia Begins Mass Trial for Opposition Activists

At least 150 Cambodian opposition figures were scheduled for a closed-door trial for allegedly plotting an attack against the government in 2019.

At least 150 Cambodian opposition figures were scheduled for a closed-door trial for allegedly plotting an attack against the government in 2019.

Among those to be tried were 60 Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members and 77 others.

All the accused are all charged with “plotting” and “incitement”, and will face a maximum of 12-30 years in prison if found guilty of attempting to help former CNRP president Sam Rainsy return to the country.

The Cambodian government has sent armed members of the Police Bodyguard Unit to watch over the trial and to prevent outsiders from observing.

Human rights group Amnesty International said it was afraid that the accused will receive a fair trial and that there would be no observers to ensure that proper trial standards are met.

“These mass trials are an affront to international fair trial standards, Cambodia’s human rights commitments, and the rule of law. This onslaught of cases is the culmination of a relentless campaign of persecution against Cambodia’s political opposition and other dissenting voices,” said Amnesty.

More hearings are scheduled for later in January and March while the Cambodian government has not made any other comment on the trials. 

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