Cambodian court gives suspended jail sentences to all 23 labor activists

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-5-30 10:55:51

Cambodia's Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday convicted 23 labor activists and workers of causing intentional violence and destroying property and sentenced them to between six months and four-and-a-half years in prison, but all jail terms were suspended, according to a verdict.

Vorn Pov, president of the Independent Democratic Association of Informal Economy, is among the convicts. He was given a suspended four-and-a-half years jail sentence and fined 2,000 US dollars.

The others received suspended jail terms between 6 months and four years, according to the verdict.

"They are found guilty of causing intentional violence and destroying property during clashes between police and protesters," the verdict said.

Heavy security forces had been deployed around the court on Friday as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the court to hear the verdict.

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator for the rights group Licadho, which provided legal aid to some of the defendants, welcomed the court's decision.

"We are pleased with the verdict that gave suspended jail sentences to all defendants," he told reporters, adding that all the defendants would be released soon after the verdict.

The 23 men were arrested during the opposition-backed clashes between police and protesters in January when they held violent protests to demand a higher minimum wage of 160 US dollars a month for the garment sector.

The clashes at that time left 4 people dead and dozens injured, and cost garment factories millions of US dollars.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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