Cambodia locks up opposition lawmakers after protest violence
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Cambodia locks up opposition lawmakers after protest violence

“They will send us to prison for sure.”

These were the words of Cambodian opposition lawmaker and public affairs chief Mu Sochua Wednesday after she and at least seven others were charged with insurrection following Tuesday’s outbreak of violence in Phnom Penh. They remained in prison Thursday after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court denied bail.

“The charges delivered against our… elected lawmakers and the CNRP activist are 100 percent unjust,” she added Wednesday, according to Cambodia Daily.

The members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) appeared in court Wednesday to be charged with leading an insurrectional movement, incitement to commit a felony and instigation to commit acts of violence. The maximum penalty if convicted on all charges would be 30 years’ imprisonment.

Tuesday morning’s violence erupted during an opposition-led protest against the closure of Freeedom Park in Phnom Penh which was used as a base for anti-government rallies earlier this year.

Violence erupted after protesters marched on the park Tuesday, with the government claiming at least 38 security personnel were injured in clashes, at least six seriously. Phnom Penh’s civilian guards themselves have a reputation for brutality and were sharply criticised for violence committed against protesters earlier this year.

Lawmakers Mu Sochua, Men Sothavrin, and Keo Phirum were arrested Tuesday morning, while fellow lawmakers Ho Vann, Real Camerin, Long Ry, Nuth Rumduol and party activist Oeur Narith were arrested later. A number of other lawmakers were believed to be at Tuesday’s protest, but were not arrested.

“I deny all these charges. We did not do anything violent or illegal. The security personnel provoked the violence and started the violence,” Mu Sochua said Wednesday.

Additional reporting from Associated Press