Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Sandal-Tossing Labor Activist

The Kompong Speu Provincial Court issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday for a labor activist wanted for questioning in an alleged incitement case filed after she tossed her sandal at a CPP sign featuring Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The court initially summoned former garment worker Sam Sokha for questioning in April after footage circulated on Facebook showing the labor organizer chucking her sandal at a road sign emblazoned with the faces of Mr. Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

Prosecutors provisionally charged Ms. Sokha with insulting a public official as well as incitement to discriminate, although the law only specifies discrimination against ethnicity, nationality, race or religion as suitable charges.

Ms. Sokha failed to answer a summons for questioning on April 8 and June 13, and was not home when police attempted to arrest her on Friday, leading Investigating Judge Soeng Vuthy to issue a warrant on Tuesday.

“Please, all police at every level, arrest and bring the suspect Sam Sokha to take action according to procedure,” Mr. Vuthy wrote.

Sam Sak, deputy provincial police chief, said he had received the warrant and was already seeking Ms. Sokha, who has not been seen by authorities since she was initially summoned.

“Now our officers are working to find her,” he said. “I believe she is still in the province. We have some confirmation about her.”

Mr. Sak declined to elaborate on what evidence there was indicating Ms. Sokha remained in the province, saying he didn’t want the suspect to know she was being sought.

Other court authorities could not be reached for comment.

Chea Mony, former head of the Free Trade Union, said in April that Ms. Sokha had been upset since being fired last year from her garment factory job. He panned the government’s decision to pursue the case.

In the clip of the sandal toss, Ms. Sokha says Mr. Hun Sen and Mr. Samrin “came here to destroy the nation,” using a derogatory pronoun in Khmer.

A charge of insulting carries a maximum six-day prison sentence and a fine of 100,000 riel, or about $25, while inciting to discriminate carries a maximum three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to 6 million riel, or $1,500.

[email protected]

Related Stories

Latest News