Cambodia upholds jail term for ex-governor in shooting
Former governor of Bavet City, Chhuk Bundith, at the appeals court in Phnom Penh on February 27, 2013
The women, employees of Kaoway Sports, were wounded when the then-governor opened fire on protesters demanding better working conditions at factories in the eastern province of Svay Rieng in February 2012.
Chhuk Bundith, who was removed from his post of governor of Bavet city after the shooting, was also ordered in June to pay a total of $9,500 to the three victims in compensation.
Despite the verdict Bundith has not been arrested, to the dismay of human rights defenders who have criticised the sentence as too lenient.
"The punishment and compensation are quite low so it is not complete justice for victims," said Am Sam Ath of the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights (LICADHO).
"Given his criminal action and credible evidence, he should be charged with (attempted) homicide. Failure to bring him to justice reflects the culture of impunity in Cambodia," he added.
Rights groups say Cambodia's legal system is in thrall to powerful and wealthy interests, leaving the country without the rule of law.
Cambodia's textile industry employs about 650,000 people and is a key source of foreign income for the impoverished nation.
Workers have repeatedly demonstrated against low wages and tough conditions in the multibillion-dollar textile industry, which produces goods for top western brands.
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