Unnamed Factory Hits Union Leader With Forgery Lawsuit

Pav Sina, one of the country’s most prominent and embattled labor leaders, was summoned to appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday over a complaint accusing him of forgery and disinformation.

The lawyer who filed the lawsuit, Kong Sopheak, said that he was acting on behalf of a factory but declined to name it or elaborate on the case.

Mr. Sina said he only received the summons—dated March 4—on Monday and would request that the questioning be rescheduled.

“He sued me about forged documents and disinformation, but I don’t know what I did wrong according to the complaint,” Mr. Sina said, adding that he did not know what factory might be behind the lawsuit.

“I am discussing with my lawyer to find out clearly about this story,” he said, adding that his attorney, Heng Bon, planned to visit the court tomorrow to obtain relevant documents.

Mr. Sina heads the Collective Movement of Union of Workers, whose members have repeatedly been the target of legal action in response to strikes and protests.

He was among six union leaders who were charged for their alleged role in violent protests in January 2014 that were lethally suppressed by state security forces. That case has yet to move to trial, though Mr. Sina and others were placed under judicial supervision.

Mr. Sina, who was elected this week to stay on as president of the union he founded, said he suspected that the meeting held by his officials to vote on leadership might have raised concerns among factory owners and authorities that they may have been planning a protest, which could have spurred the complaint.

Along with Ath Thorn, the head of the country’s largest independent union, Mr. Sina has been among the most vocal critics of a draft Trade Union Law, which is set for a vote in the National Assembly on April 4. Unions have said they will protest during the Assembly session to voice their disapproval but have not said what they might do if the law is passed.

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