Sous Chantha, Cambodian union leader, still in pre-trial detention

By Siena Anstis

Sous Chantha’s daughter. More photos available here.

Six months ago, Sous Chantha, Cambodian union leader and former employee of United Apparel Garment factory, was arrested. This arrest happened shortly after he transferred his union’s 1000 members from the Independent & Democratic Union Federation (IDUF) to the Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union (C-CAWDU). A brief history of the case can be found here. The gathering today – a ceremony at the adjacent wat followed by the release of balloons outside the prison where Chantha is being detained – marked the fact that he has now spent exactly six months in provisional detention on drug trafficking charges. Information gathered by LICADHO strongly suggests that Chantha was framed in retaliation for changing his union’s affiliation.

Some people at the ceremony were saying that an international boycott of the factory’s products was leading to renewed pressure on the government to resolve this situation. Shortly after Chantha’s arrest, Clean Clothes Campaign posted an “Urgent Action” request here. However, it is not clear from research online whether there is an actual international boycott in progress and what effect this is having. Also, from what I was explained today on the criminal law system in Cambodia, the Court must hold a pre-trial detention hearing now that Chantha has been detained for six months (I believe Article 208 of the Cambodian Criminal Procedure Code). In serious cases, they may extend his provisional detention.

The content and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by LICADHO or its affiliates.

One response to “Sous Chantha, Cambodian union leader, still in pre-trial detention”

  1. Nandini Ramanujam says:

    It has been excellent to follow your posts. Keep writing.

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