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Supreme Court Upholds Tep Vanny Conviction

Published on February 7, 2018

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Supporters of Tep Vanny gather outside Supreme Court on 7 February 2018.

The conviction of land rights activist Tep Vanny over her participation in a peaceful protest was upheld by the Supreme Court this morning as supporters gathered outside.

No plaintiffs or prosecution witnesses were present at the hearing, preventing cross-examination as was the case at the first instance trial and Appeal Court hearings. Witnesses for the defence, who were present in the courtroom, were not permitted to testify.

At a protest in Phnom Penh on 13 March 2013 – over the jailing of another activist – para-police beat and injured several members of the Boeung Kak Lake community. Nonetheless, Tep Vanny was convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 23 February 2017 for “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances”, despite a lack of credible evidence.

Vanny’s defence sought to overturn the two years and six months’ sentence as well as fines and compensation to two para-police plaintiffs amounting to 14 million riel ($3,500). Since her arrest on 15 August 2016 (her pre-trial detention officially began four days later), Tep Vanny has spent 541 days behind bars.

The verdict today relates just one of three historic cases which were re-activated in August 2016 while Vanny was awaiting trial on separate charges over a Black Monday protest for the release of five human rights defenders.


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