Camboya - Harassment and prosecution of labour activist

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for the Alliance of Labour and Human Rights and a prominent supporter of labour rights in Cambodia (he had previously worked as the Trade Union Development Project Coordinator in Cambodia for the Building and Wood Workers International), was charged on 18 January 2018 with “breach of trust” by a Phnom Penh Court.
He and two other civil society leaders, Pa Nguon Teang, an advocate for press freedom, and Venerable But Buntenh, an activist monk, were accused of misappropriating funds raised for the funeral of Kem Ley, a well-known government critic who was assassinated in July 2016. Human Rights Watch termed the charges “politically motivated legal harassment” and an example of the government targeting civil society activists. Members of Kem Ley’s own family repeatedly stated that there was no basis for the allegations, and that Tola and the other two accused leaders had never handled any of the funeral funds. The charges carried a prison sentence of up to three years. In July 2018 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court dropped all charges.

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