Union Leaders Called to Court for Questioning

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has summoned two prominent union leaders for questioning on Friday over charges that they incited violence and property damage at a garment worker protest in Phnom Penh in January during which military police fatally shot at least five people.

The summonses are dated October 9 and ask Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Confederation of Unions, and Yang Sophoan, who heads the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions, to “bring any documents related to the case above if they have them.”

Mr. Chhun and Ms. Sophoan said they each received the summonses Monday and would attend the questioning session.

They have both denied any wrongdoing and claimed they were not at the protest.

However, Mr. Chhun on Monday added a slight caveat to his previous denial.

“I am not worried about being arrested because I was not present at the demonstration,” he said.

“But if I was there, I am not guilty because I just joined to demand a higher minimum wage for workers.”

They and other union leaders facing the same charges are currently under court supervision, restricting their activities in the midst of ongoing garment sector wage negotiations between the unions, factories and government.

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