Latest Flash NewsLand Activist Yorm Bophaa Released on Bail by Supreme Court
Published on November 22, 2013
After more than 14 months detention, Yorm Bopha was finally released from Police Judiciaire prison (PJ) at 5.45 this evening. Her much-anticipated Supreme Court hearing began this morning at 9.45 as more than 400 supporters, including monks and civil society, joined her family and community outside the courtroom. After a 2-hour hearing, the Supreme Court granted bail to Bopha pending her re-trial at the Appeal Court.
Clearly emotional to be reunited with her eight-year-old son, and expressing gratitude to her fellow community members for their unstinting support, Bopha headed to Boeung Kak surrounded by well-wishers to celebrate her release.
Get the details of today's release via our live stream.
Published on June 28, 2013
The government has imposed shocking and expansive measures to censor Cambodia’s local news media ahead of July 28 elections, banning FM radio stations from rebroadcasting “foreignbased programs” in Khmer and from reporting on foreigners who are campaigning “to support or oppose” political parties or candidates.
The ban will stay in place through the July 28 National Assembly election day.
Published on June 18, 2013
Imprisoned Boeung Kak Lake land activist Yorm Bopha filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on June 17, 2013, in a bid to overturn or reduce her two-year prison sentence. She was convicted for her alleged involvement in a physical assault, but it is widely believed that the charges came in retaliation for her land rights activism.
Bopha was arrested in September 2012 and convicted of “intentional violence” in December; she was originally sentenced to three years imprisonment. The Court of Appeal suspended one year of her sentence on Friday, June 14, meaning she is scheduled for release in September 2014. Both Bopha’s original trial and her appeal were characterized by a stunning lack of evidence
Published on June 5, 2013
The appeal hearing of imprisoned Boeung Kak community member Yorm Bopha began today at approximately 2:45 p.m. in Phnom Penh, with hundreds of supporters gathering outside the court’s gates. An additional 30 to 40 members of a pro-government motodop association organized a counter-protest calling for Bopha to remain in prison. The counterprotest itself was not that vocal, but the group used piped-in crowd noise, channeled through a megaphone, in an attempt to drown out the chants of Bopha’s supporters. At least one of the motodop group told a human rights monitor he was paid 30,000 riels to protest.
Inside the court, approximately 40 people from local and international NGOs, foreign embassies, the United Nations, and media observed the hearing. Bopha and her husband both testified.
After three hours, the hearing was adjourned, to be continued on June 14 at 2 p.m.
Bopha was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly assaulting a motodop. There is no evidence of her involvement in the case, and all signs point to her conviction being in retribution for her activism for the Boeung Kak lake land case. She has been designated a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.
Published on May 21, 2013
Earlier today, former Bavet Governor Chhouk Bandith - accused of shooting three female factory workers during a factory strike last year - failed to appear to his trial in Svay Rieng province. Following a request by his lawyer, the Svay Rieng court agreed to delay the trial to June 12 in order to "respect the rights of the accused" and insure his presence at the trial. About 60 representatives from unions, NGOs and the united nations were present during today's proceedings.
Bandith has admitted to firing his gun, and a police witness saw him pointing the gun at the crowd. Despite this, Bandith remains a free man.
The new court date is June 12 at 8 a.m., also in Svay Rieng.
Published on March 6, 2013
After a full day of testimony and arguments, the Prosecutor began his closing statement today by requesting that secession-related charges against Mam Sonando be changed. According to the Prosecutor, Sonando should be convicted of instigating the crimes of obstruction and interference with local officials, under articles 28, 504 and 609 of the Penal Code. The Prosecutor also asked to add a forestry crime -- the unlawful clearing of forest land -- under article 97.6 of the Forestry Law. The charges against the other two appellants, Touch Ream and Kann Sovann, remained the same. One witness's testimony was, however, abruptly halted when he repeatedly stated that he had mistakenly identified Sovann as being present at an incident that was the basis for the accusations against him. The witness stated that none of the three appellants had been at the incident in question.
The Appeals Court will announce its decision on March 14, 2013 at 8 am.
Published on March 5, 2013
On the morning of March 5, 2013, the Appeals Court opened a hearing to review the verdict against independent radio owner Mam Sonando and two co-defendants, Touch Ream and Kan Sovann. The court was standing room only for the proceeding, with around 55 people, including numerous international observers, in attendance. The hearing follows the September 2012 trial in Phnom Penh’s lower court which resulted in a widely condemned 20-year-long prison sentence for 72-year-old Sonando. No evidence of Sonando’s involvement in an alleged “secession” in Kratie province was presented during the trial, nor was there any evidence that a secession movement even existed.
The hearing is expected to end tomorrow.
Published on March 4, 2013
This afternoon, the Appeals Court's Investigation Chamber charged ex-Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith with causing involuntary bodily harm under article 236 of the Penal Code, and sent the case file back to the Svay Rieng court for trial. The Appeals Court apparently did not consider a more serious accusation than the one originally submitted against Bandith to loud public outcry. This decision follows a two-day long closed hearing in which Bandith admitted to shooting his weapon during the worker's protest that resulted in serious gun shot injuries to three women, but denied knowing where the bullets went. A key witness who testified during the hearing, a commune police deputy chief, said that he believed Bandith was the shooter, as he saw Bandith pointing his handgun at workers seconds after the shooting. No evidence has been reported related to potential alternate shooters.
The Appeals Court did not order pre-trial detention for Bandith. The charge carries a prison sentence of six months to two years.
Published on March 1, 2013
The appeal hearing for former Bavet city governor Chhouk Bandith, which began on Feb. 27, concluded yesterday after a full day of testimony from witnesses. The hearing was called to determine whether to reopen criminal charges against Bandith for allegedly shooting three protesting garment workers in February 2012. Charges against Bandith were dropped in December.
During the hearing, Bandith reportedly acknowledged firing his gun, while police witnesses reportedly testified that Bandith brandished a gun at the protest and fired shots. One key witness -- a commune deputy police chief -- said that he believed Bandith was the shooter.
The court will announce its decision on March 4.
Published on February 27, 2013
Former Bavet city governor Chhouk Bandith appeared at the Court of Appeals in Phnom Penh today for a hearing examining an investigating judge’s decision in December to drop criminal charges against him.
The former governor was accused of firing his gun during a demonstration by garment workers in February 2012. Three workers -- whose factory supplies Puma, among others -- were injured by gunfire. Bandith actually admitted firing his gun, and was originally charged in the case, but the charges were inexplicably dropped in December.
The hearing was closed to the public, but outside the court, a group of union members, workers and other supporters gathered to call on the court to reinstate the charges.
Published on December 13, 2012
Earlier this morning, the Appeals Court denied independent radio station owner Mam Sonando's request for release pending his appeal. Sonando, 71, was convicted earlier this year on multiple counts related to purportedly inciting an insurrectionist movement. The charges were widely decried as baseless and politically motivated. Although no credible evidence was presented in the trial court, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Since then, a growing number of voices - including the European Parliament and Unites States President Barack Obama - have openly called for his release.
Published on May 30, 2012
LICADHO employee Leang Sokchoeun was released from Kandal Provincial Prison yesterday at 11 a.m., after fully serving his two-year sentence on dubious charges.
Leading human rights organizations from around the world - including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and the World Organisation Against Torture -- condemned Sokchoeun's conviction as fundamentally flawed and a flagrant violation of domestic and international law.
Published on May 29, 2012
The world's leading international human rights NGOs have issued a letter condemning the arbitrary arrest and mistreatment of Boeung Kak Lake activists, and calling upon the government to order their immediate release.
Published on October 15, 2011
Yesterday, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent an open letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Alain JuppÃ©. The two organizations urges France, co-chairman of the Paris Conference, to pressure the Cambodian Government to drop its efforts to enact the widely criticized Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Cambodia.
Published on September 15, 2011
Ten international organizations wrote to representatives of 17 United Nations (UN) agencies urging them to press the Cambodian Government to end its efforts to promulgate the repressive Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO).
A copy of the letter sent to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) can be viewed in English or in Khmer.
(The letters were sent to FAO, UNFP, IFAD, UNHCR, ILO, UNICEF, IOM, UNIDO, OHCHR, UNODC, UNWomen, UNESCO, WHO, UNEP, WFP, UNDP and UNAIDS)