Four Suspects in Alleged ‘Rose Revolution’ Plot Out on Bail

Authorities on Tuesday released on bail four people accused of attempting to incite the country’s armed forces to topple the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, though rights groups said the charges against the suspects should be dropped altogether due to a lack of evidence.

Hy Borin, Tut Chanpanha, Sok Dalis and Lim Lypheng were all arrested on Thursday and charged by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court two days later with incitement for allegedly planning to give soldiers and police yellow roses accompanied by stickers urging them to “turn your guns against the despot.”

Tut Chanpanha is greeted by his mother Tuesday upon his release from Prey Sar prison. (Siv Channa)
Tut Chanpanha is greeted by his mother Tuesday upon his release from Prey Sar prison. (Siv Channa)

They were all released from Prey Sar prison on bail Tuesday afternoon.

“We welcome the release of the four people, but we regret that they are released on bail with restrictions by the court,” said Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for Licadho, which provided Mr. Chanpanha and Ms. Dalis with a lawyer.

“We, civil society, suggest the court drop the charges against them,” he said.

Licadho says Mr. Chanpanha and Ms. Dalis had no idea that the stickers would be attached to the flowers and that the message those stickers bore failed to constitute criminal incitement.

Mr. Borin and Ms. Lypheng, who have a separate lawyer, left the prison without speaking to reporters.

At the Licadho office, Mr. Chanpanha and Ms. Dalis welcomed their release and professed their innocence.

“I did not do anything wrong,” Mr. Chanpanha said without elaborating.

Kao Samedy, a friend of the pair who joined them at the Licadho office, said the duo was in no way guilty of incitement.

“I believe they are innocent because in a democracy the youth have the right to participate in politics,” he said.

“I have known Ms. Dalis and Mr. Chanpanha for a long time. They are not opposition members and they have not done this kind of humanitarian work only this time. We used to buy secondhand clothes to give to poor people and we used to collect trash along Preah Sihanouk beach.”

Ms. Lypheng’s husband, Kao Sokchea, also welcomed his wife’s release but said they had yet to meet since she left prison.

“She went to relax in the province because she is in shock and has never experienced anything like this before,” he said.

The couple runs a printing shop where Mr. Borin had the stickers produced before their arrest. Mr. Sokchea said his wife did not know what the stickers said.

Both the flowers and stickers were ordered and arranged by the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), a group of Khmer-Americans in the U.S. that has long called for regime change in Cambodia. It was hoping to have them handed out to soldiers and police amid a military buildup in Phnom Penh in preparation for mass demonstrations the opposition CNRP is threatening to stage unless the ruling CPP concedes power.

Both parties claim to have won last month’s national election, though preliminary results give a majority of parliamentary seats to the CPP.

The government has labeled the KPPM a terrorist group with a private army, but it has yet to present any evidence backing up the claim.

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.