”Free the 23” Trial – Day five

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The trial of 23 workers and human rights activists continues today at the Phnom Penh Court. The trial has now reached its fifth day and proceedings are scheduled to start at 8am. (Khmer language)

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07:00 ICT May 22

Good morning and welcome to LICADHO's coverage of the trials of workers and human rights activists arrested during deadly clashes in January 2014. The 21 defendants who have not been granted bail arrived at court shortly after 6 o'clock this morning. They came by truck from Phnom Penh's CC1 prison where they have been detained since April 24, the day before the trial began.

07:26 ICT May 22

The trials are taking place at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. So far, the hearing of the ten men arrested outside the Yak Jin factory on January 2 has been held in court room 1 and the hearing of the of the 13 men arrested on Veng Sreng Road has been heard in court room 2.

Yesterday, in court room 1, Vorn Pao, the President of IDEA (Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association) gave evidence all day. Pao, who was badly beaten at the time of his arrest, asked for several breaks during the day and the proceedings were adjourned mid afternoon due to his poor health. He will take the stand again this morning.

In court room 2, the judge heard evidence from both defence and prosecution witnesses. In the afternoon the court clerk read the written testimonies of absent witnesses and civil claimants. By the end of the day the prosecution and one of the defence lawyers had finished their concluding remarks. The defence will finish their summing up this morning.

To read about yesterday's proceedings in more detail, see our Trial Day 4 livestream.

Updated at 07:29 ICT

08:01 ICT May 22

The trial is being followed around the world. Here, UK campaigning charity, Labour Behind the Label, shows its support.

08:10 ICT May 22

proceedings underway

Proceedings have now started in both court rooms. Observers in court room 2 include representatives from:

  • UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Cambodian Center for Human Rights
  • Destination Justice
  • Phnom Penh Post
  • Cambodia Daily

Updated at 08:14 ICT

08:23 ICT May 22

Freelance photographer John Vink is with Boeung Kak Lake as they prepare to leave their community and head to court.

08:33 ICT May 22

In court room 1, the judge is currently establishing which witnesses are present. A number of civil parties are absent but their lawyer is present and has argued that he can plead on their behalf. Lawyers for the defence have complained that this is unfair as they will be unable to cross-examine the the civil parties but the judge has made the decision to proceed.

Observers in the court include representatives from:

  • UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • East West Management Institute
  • US Embassy
  • EU Embassy
  • Cambodian Center for Human Rights
  • Solidarity Center

Updated at 08:42 ICT

08:36 ICT May 22

As on previous days, barricades are in place to the north and south of the court and supporters are beginning to gather.

08:46 ICT May 22

In court room 1, Vorn Pao, the president of IDEA, has just started giving evidence for the third day. Members of IDEA from Battambang, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey provinces have joined the protests outside court today.

09:07 ICT May 22

Vorn Pao is being questioned by his defence lawyer about the events of January 2. He has described how monks gave a blessing but was interrupted by the Deputy Prosecutor who said that the monks did not follow the rules set down by the Ministry of Cult and Religion. Pao's defence lawyer pointed out that the monks were not on trial. Pao asked that the chief of Brigade 911 be brought to testify about the discipline of his unit. Instead a representative of the Ministry of Cult and Religion is now giving evidence and saying that monks should not join demonstrations. He also says that the monks at Yak Jin had rocks in their tuk tuk.

09:11 ICT May 22

Led by monks, the protestors have begun to march around the court.

Updated at 09:40 ICT

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