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Cambodian human rights defender faces arrest, charges

UPDATE from CCHR: CCHR and CLC letter to H.E. Sar Kheng regarding refusal to permit visit to Vorn Pao and seven other detainees (29 January 2014)

On 2 January 2014, human rights defender Vorn Pov, President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), and Theng Savuen from the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC) along with eight workers and five monks were arrested by the Military Special Command Unit 911 while protesting outside of the Yak Jin Factory, off of National Road 4 in Phnom Penh. They had been calling for a higher increase in the minimum wage for garment factory workers. The arrest took place as the police was seen violently trying to disband a peaceful protest, beating protesters. Vorn Pov was seen to have received a blow to the head. The five monks were released late on the night of 2 January, but the 10 others remained detained.

On the morning of 3 January 2014, all ten were taken to Phnom Penh Municipal Court of First Instance to be questioned. They have now all been charged with Article 411, "Intentionally causing damage with aggravating circumstances" and Article 218 "Acts of violence with aggravating Circumstances" of the Penal code 2009. They now have been taken back to Prey Sar prison.

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