Court Questions Union Leader Over Forgery

Prominent union leader Pav Sina was questioned in court on Thursday about a forgery and disinformation complaint filed against him by a garment factory, a charge he rejected as being an invention meant to stall attempts by workers to unionize.

The Southland garment factory filed the complaint in March against Mr. Sina, who heads the Collective Union of Movement of Workers, accusing him of committing forgery when he misspelled the names of two factory employees on a document informing management that the pair planned to form a union there.

Pav Sina speaks to reporters outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday morning. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Pav Sina speaks to reporters outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday morning. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Speaking outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday morning after being questioned by deputy prosecutor Kham Sophary, Mr. Sina characterized the document’s errors as trivial.

“This was just the wrong spelling and a technical mistake,” he said.

The deputy prosecutor asked him to present the workers in question, so they could verify that they worked for the factory, he said, adding that he would do so. No specific date was set for the next round of questioning.

Mr. Sina added that he believed the complaint was an attempt by the factory in Pur Senchey district to intimidate him and the workers.

“My idea is that the factory sued me because they don’t want my union to organize in their factory and they want to hide their bad activities,” he said.

Despite threatening to file a complaint against the factory for misspelling his name in the complaint after he was questioned in April, Mr. Sina said on Thursday that he would not let pettiness jeopardize the workers’ attempts to unionize.

Kong Sopheak, a lawyer representing Southland, referred questions to Lim Sam Oeun, the lawyer handling the case, who is currently in France and could not be reached. 

Mr. Sina is also at the center of a more serious complaint filed in April by the Ministry of Labor against him and three fellow union leaders.

The complaint accuses the men of public defamation, insulting public civil servants and blocking a public road during a news conference outside the Ministry of Labor, where they called for intervention in a legal case against five other unionists. No further action has been taken in the case.

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