Cambodian Civil Society Groups Demand Release of Union Leader Charged With ‘Incitement’

Scores of civil society groups in Cambodia on Monday condemned the arrest of union leader Rong Chhun, demanding that the government release him and drop charges of “incitement” he faces over his criticism of the country’s handling of a border dispute with Vietnam.

Rong Chhun was officially charged with “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest” under Article 495 of Cambodia’s Penal Code and jailed at Prey Sar Prison in Phnom Penh Saturday, a day after his arrest for claiming the government has allowed Vietnam to encroach on farmland along their shared border.

His arrest and formal charging prompted protests over the weekend and again on Monday in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, where he faces two years in prison if convicted.

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