Request Rejected to Have Union Head Step Down

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has rejected a request from two former members of the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers’ Democratic Union (CCAWDU) to have the union’s president be forced to step down as he is investigated for embezzlement.

Former CCAWDU officials Oum Visal and Roeun Chanthorn filed a complaint against CCAWDU President Ath Thorn in early April, accusing him and two other union leader of siphoning off more than $92,000 from a settlement for workers involved in a factory dispute.

Mr. Visal and Ms. Chanthorn also asked the court to carry out an injunction that would force Mr. Thorn to step down and be replaced by Mr. Visal. But on July 15, Presiding Judge Ly Libmeng threw out the request.

“Plaintiffs Oum Visal and Roeun Chanthorn were dismissed by… [CCAWDU] on March 30 and their activities have seriously affected it,” Judge Libmeng said in a written decision.

“So the court has decided to drop the injunction complaint of the plaintiffs.”

Mr. Thorn’s lawyer, Kim Socheat, welcomed the decision, citing a lack of evidence in the case. The court is continuing its investigation into the embezzlement claims.

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