Another CNRP Youth Summonsed Over Protest

A total of eight members of the CNRP Youth have now been imprisoned or summonsed to court for questioning over their alleged roles in a protest on July 15 that saw opposition protesters violently retaliate against a group of uniformed security guards sent in by authorities to break up a demonstration to open Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park.

On Saturday, An Paktham, 35, a CNRP activist in Phnom Penh, received a summons from Phnom Penh Municipal Court for “participating in an insurrection and against public authorities and intentional [violence] at Freedom Park.”

Three CNRP Youth activists—Khin Chamrouen, head of the CNRP’s Phnom Penh Youth; Neang Sokhun, a CNRP Youth leader for Tuol Kok district and San Kimheng, the treasurer for the CNRP Youth in Meanchey district—were arrested on August 2 on identical charges and are being held in pretrial detention at Prey Sar prison.

Mr. Paktham joins four other CNRP activists who have been summoned to appear at court between August 5 and 8 for questioning over the charges. Also called to court are Meach Sovannara, Tep Narin, Sam Seyhak and Ouch Pichsamnang.

Seven CNRP lawmakers and an activist stand charged with leading the insurrection and violence, but were released from prison on bail following a deal cut between Prime Minister Hun Sen and CNRP President Sam Rainsy on July 22 to end the country’s political deadlock. Ruling party officials have suggested that their immunity as lawmakers would be retroactive after taking their seats in the National Assembly, which they did on August 5.

The activists and lawmakers have insisted that their protest was meant to be peaceful, and that individuals decided to react violently against stick-wielding district security guards, who have repeatedly beaten protesters since a ban on demonstrations was imposed by the Interior Ministry in January.

Mr. Sreyhak, 26, one of the summonsed CNRP Youth activists, said that the increasing number of activists being charged in relation to the July demonstration was simply meant to intimidate the opposition.

“They summon more youth in order to put pressure on our leaders and threaten other youth, but we are not afraid of them,” he said.

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