Charged Activist’s Wife Says Let Down by CNRP

The wife of political activist Ouk Pich Samnang, who was charged with intentional violence and causing damage to public property after smashing his tuk-tuk through a barricade during a protest in Phnom Penh last week, said Monday she felt the opposition CNRP had “turned a blind eye” to her husband since his arrest.

Thin Narin said she felt let down by the opposition’s inaction since the arrest of her husband, an ardent opposition activist who has been at the fore of CNRP demonstrations since last year’s disputed national election.

“He supported the CNRP…but I have nothing to say now because the CNRP have not helped me and haven’t contacted my family since the arrest,” Ms. Narin said.

“They should not turn a blind eye to him,” she said. “We lost hope in the CNRP when they did nothing to help him out.”

A warrant for Mr. Pich Samnang’s arrest was issued after he drove his tuk-tuk through a metal barricade during a protest involving more than 100 evicted villagers from Preah Vihear province. Eighteen people sustained injuries after Daun Penh district security guards attacked protesters with batons.

Yim Sovann, spokesman for the CNRP, claimed the opposition party was working behind the scenes to help Mr. Pich Samnang.

“The top leaders are aware of the case and they are trying to solve the problem,” he said. “We cannot tell you what they are going to do, but we cannot just stay quiet because our activist was arrested and we will try to find a solution.”

CNRP public affairs chief Mu Sochua said the party had spoken to its lawyers about the case.

“Of course we feel responsibility,” she said. “We show a tremendous responsibility not just to Samnang but the entire situation of violence.”

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