In rare move, Cambodia Appeal Court acquits union leaders of instigating anti-government protests

Phnom Penh – A Cambodian court has acquitted six prominent union leaders who had been convicted of instigating violent anti-government protests, amid threats from the European Union to suspend the Southeast Asian country’s duty-free trading access.

The European Union began a formal procedure last year to strip Cambodia of its “Everything but Arms (EBA)” initiative, following a July general election that returned Prime Minister Hun Sen to power after 33 years in office and gave his party all parliamentary seats.

“This (the acquittal) is strange and rare in Cambodia,” said Ath Thon, the president of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union, one of the six leaders found not guilty.

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