Court Delays Trial of Monk, Dissident

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday delayed its sedition trial of Cambodian-American dissident Sourn Serey Ratha in order to give co-defendant and activist monk Luon Sovath time to return from abroad and defend himself in person.

Luon Sovath and Mr. Serey Ratha have both been charged with plotting, defined as planning to commit an attack, in connection to the latter’s attempts to have 1,000 yellow roses handed out to police and soldiers in Phnom Penh following last year’s national election.

The flowers were to be accompanied by stickers urging soldiers to “turn your guns against the despot,” in reference to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Mr. Serey Ratha, who is also charged with incitement for printing T-shirts urging people not to vote in the 2013 elections, lives in self-imposed exile and has no plans to defend himself in person.

Luon Sovath had asked for a delay due to previous plans to attend a religious event in South Korea.

Presiding Judge Top Chhun Heng on Thursday approved the delay but did not set a new trial date.

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