Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Tep Vanny Returned to CC2 Prison as Two Activists Convicted
Published on August 22, 2016

This morning, Boeung Kak Lake activists Tep Vanny and Bov Sophea were convicted of ‘insulting a public official’ relating to a peaceful Black Monday protest last week and sentenced to six days’ imprisonment. Tep Vanny, facing pre-trial detention under charges of intentional violence which were brought last week relating to a 2013 protest, will be returned to Prey Sar’s CC2 prison. Bov Sophea should be released later today.

After just 18 minutes of deliberation, following a ninety-minute trial, the trial judge Pech Vicheator unexpectedly altered their charge to ‘insult of a public official’ (Criminal Code Article 502) – announcing the change during the delivery of his verdict – and sentenced Tep Vanny and Bov Sophea to the maximum six days’ imprisonment. After presenting a defense against the original incitement offences, lawyers were given no opportunity to defend against the altered insult charges, in a violation of the rights for adequate time and resources to prepare a defense.

On Friday, Tep Vanny was brought from provisional detention in CC2 prison to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for interview in relation to a protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in 2013 and subsequently charged with intentional violence. The protest in question ended in one of the most violent crackdowns against the community, leaving five citizens injured, including some with broken bones.

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Flash News: Imprisoned Activist Tep Vanny Brought for Questioning Relating to Three-Year-Old Protest
Published on August 19, 2016

This afternoon activist Tep Vanny, whose trial under incitement charges began two days ago, was brought to Phnom Penh Municipal Court for interview in relation to a protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in 2013.

Pro-government media outlet Freshnews, referring to Tep Vanny with the politically-loaded label ‘colour revolutionary’, reported that the questioning related to a different case of international violence with aggravating circumstances. She was questioned by Judge Nou Veasna, who was one of the trial judges in last year’s CNRP ‘insurrection’ case, without the presence of her lawyers.

Tep Vanny was arrested on Monday alongside fellow land activist Bov Sophea during a gathering in their community in support of the Black Monday campaign in an apparently targeted arrest. The pair were charged and sent to immediate trial on Wednesday, which was then suspended until Monday 22 August. The two women have been in Prey Sar’s CC2 prison since then.

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Flash News: Boeung Kak Lake Black Monday Activists on Trial
Published on August 17, 2016

Two Boeung Kak Lake activists are currently being tried under incitement charges following their arrest on Monday evening during a peaceful demonstration in their community to mark the 15th week of the “Black Monday” campaign.

Tep Vanny and Bov Sophea, both long-time activists from Boueng Kak Lake community, spent two nights detained in Daun Penh police station after para-police broke up Monday evening’s peaceful event, held by the community to call for the release of five imprisoned human rights defenders and for justice for the recent murder of political analyst and Black Monday supporter Kem Ley. They were charged by prosecutor Keo Socheat with incitement under Article 495 of Cambodia’s Criminal Code this afternoon, after a day of interrogation at Phnom Penh’s Municipal Court, and immediately sent to trial.

The charges represent a major escalation in police response to peaceful Black Monday protests. Altogether, such protests have resulted in at least 36 arrests since they began in May. Today is the first time Black Monday protesters have been charged.

The trial has been postponed until 8am on Monday, Aug 22. The two activists have been sent to pre-trial detention in Prey Sar's CC2 prison until then.

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Flash News: Koh Kong Land Communities Deliver Petitions in Phnom Penh
Published on August 4, 2016

Today 74 representatives of communities in Chi Khor Leu commune, Sre Ambel district, Koh Kong submitted five petitions at government, parliamentary and diplomatic offices in Phnom Penh calling for a resolution to their decade-old land conflict.

The protest is the latest in a series of actions by the communities protesting against land grabbing by sugar producers in Sre Ambel district. The dispute began in 2006 following the establishment of sugar Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) in Koh Kong.

The peaceful protest saw representatives carrying banners and flags deliver petitions to the Ministry of Land Management, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Commerce. Other petitions were delivered to the embassy of the European Union Delegation to Cambodia and the National Assembly.

After submitting their petition to the National Assembly, Chi Khor Leu community representative Phav Nherng gave a brief press conference during which she called for both the government and opposition to help resolve their long-running land conflict. She also expressed her disappointment that the National Assembly was unable to intervene due to its workload and scheduled parliamentary holidays.

Flash News: Land Dispute Communities Demonstrate in Sihanoukville, Request Meeting With Prime Minister
Published on August 3, 2016

This morning, over 200 people from 18 communities engaged in land disputes in Sihanoukville province assembled outside the Sihanoukville governor’s office.

The group requested a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, in the hopes that he might intervene and bring an end to their land conflict. The Prime Minister has been on a travel schedule visiting several provinces in the last few weeks.

17 community representatives and an ADHOC staffer have met with deputy governor Chhit Seng Nhuon and are currently waiting to meet with the Prime Minister.

Authorities on site are monitoring the demonstration; there have been no reports of roadblocks or violent altercations.

Flash News: CNRP Leader Sam Rainsy Tried and Convicted in Absentia
Published on July 28, 2016

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court heard a defamation case involving self-exiled leader of the CNRP Sam Rainsy, and National Assembly President, Heng Samrin.

The case revolved around a Facebook post made by Rainsy on November 17, 2015, in which he shared a video of the late King Sihanouk making comments about the actions of the 1980s Samrin-led regime. The prosecutor, Vong Bun Visoth, and Samrin’s lawyer, Ky Tech, both argued that the caption Rainsy had written to accompany the video was exaggerated, defamatory and misleading. Neither the defendant nor his lawyers were present for the trial.

After 10 minutes of deliberation, judge Ros Piseth returned with a lengthy written judgment, finding Rainsy guilty of defamation under article 305 of the Criminal Code. Rainsy was ordered to pay a 10 million riel (about $2,500) fine and 150 million riel (about $37,500) in compensation to Heng Samrin.

Rainsy has been living abroad since late last year, facing imprisonment if he returns, after a conviction previously believed to have been spent was reactivated following a complaint by the then-serving Foreign Minister Hor Namhong’s lawyer.

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Flash News: Appeal Court Upholds Conviction of CNRP Activist Ouk Pich Samnang
Published on July 20, 2016

This morning, the Phnom Penh Appeal Court upheld CNRP activist Ouk Pich Samnang’s conviction, in a case relating to an October 2014 protest in which he had been injured by Daun Penh district security guards.
Samnang had been tried and convicted in September 2015 of intentional violence and obstructing authorities and sentenced to two years in prison, in a decision largely decried due to lack of evidence and contradictory witness testimony.

During the appeal hearing, held on June 30, 2016, Samnang repeatedly challenged the legitimacy of his conviction, denied having committed any violence and expressed skepticism that his appeal would be allowed. Witness testimony was once again contradictory and limited evidence was presented to justify the trial court’s decision.

Ouk Pich Samnang has been detained for exactly one year today, alongside 17 other opposition members and activists detained within the last year.

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Flash News: Activists Mark Ninth Black Monday Around Phnom Penh
Published on July 4, 2016

This morning, the ninth Black Monday was marked around Phnom Penh with gatherings by land activists, students and public shows of solidarity in the city’s biggest malls.

In support of five imprisoned human rights defenders, who were thrown into prison nine weeks ago today, groups of shoppers marked Black Monday in malls around the city, wearing black in solidarity with the five rights defenders. At the same time, a morning gathering in Boeung Kak Lake community in support of Black Monday was broken up by police and Daun Penh para-police, who violently confiscated banners and materials. A group of activists from Borei Keila demonstrated outside Phnom Penh Municipality, calling for the release of the five rights defenders. Students at Royal University Phnom Penh also joined the campaign on campus.

Today’s Phnom Penh-wide Black Monday celebrations come nine weeks after four human rights defenders from NGO ADHOC and one election official were detained on spurious charges of bribery.

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Flash News: Mother Nature Activists Convicted, Released on Suspended Sentence
Published on July 1, 2016

Three environmental activists from NGO Mother Nature were released this afternoon after being convicted and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment this morning. Their 10 months and 15 days' pre-trial detention was considered time-served, with the rest of the sentence suspended.

Try Sovikea, 26; Sun Mala, 24; and Sim Samnang, 29, were tried over two days earlier this week by Koh Kong provincial court. This morning, they were convicted by Judge Min Meakra with threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage followed by an order under Articles 28 and 424 of the Criminal Code – charges brought after the three were arrested last year amid an ongoing campaign to end alleged illegal sand dredging in Koh Kong. Throughout the trial, little to no evidence of their guilt was presented.

The three have been held in pre-trial detention since their arrest in August 2015 – amounting to 11 days longer than the legal pre-trial detention limit. In addition to their prison sentence, the three men were also ordered to pay a two million riel (about $500) fine and 100 million riel (about $25,000) compensation payment.

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Flash News: Three Mother Nature Activists Tried in Koh Kong
Published on June 28, 2016

The two-day trial of three activists from environmental NGO Mother Nature, who have been imprisoned since August 2015, ended today at Koh Kong provincial court as about 80 supporters gathered outside.

The three – Try Sovikea, San Mala and Sim Samnang – were tried by Judge Min Meakra under Article 424 of the Criminal Code with threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage followed by an order. The charges were brought after the three were arrested in August 2015 amid an ongoing campaign to end alleged illegal sand dredging in Koh Kong. Throughout the trial, limited evidence of guilt was presented.

The verdict will be announced on 1 July.

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Flash News: Appeals Court Denies Bail for ADHOC and NEC Staffers
Published on June 13, 2016

This morning, ADHOC staffers Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan, and election official Ny Chakrya, were denied bail in an Appeal Court hearing conducted by judge Khun Leang Meng.

The five human rights defenders were imprisoned under spurious bribery charges on 2 May amid national and international outcry. If convicted, they could be sentenced to between five and ten years’ imprisonment.

About 40 supporters gathered outside the Appeal Court for the hearing. Their banners were confiscated by police, and Sor Sorn, an activist from Borei Keila community, was arrested outside the court and taken to Daun Penh police station. Police have indicated she will be released this evening.

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Flash News: CNRP Youth Members Convicted, Sentenced to Seven Years' Imprisonment
Published on June 13, 2016

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced three CNRP youth members to seven years’ imprisonment for their participation in the July 15, 2014 protest in Freedom Park.

The three men – Yea Thong, Roeun Chetra and Yun Kimhour – were found guilty of participation in an insurrectionary movement under Articles 456 and 457 of the Cambodian Criminal Code. Throughout the trial, conducted by judge Mong Mony Sophea, the defence lawyers were blocked from questioning key witnesses and the prosecution produced limited evidence to substantiate their claims.

All three men have been detained since August 2015. They join 11 other CNRP supporters and officials similarly convicted under insurrection charges and sentenced to between seven and 20 years’ imprisonment in relation to the same protest in July 2015.

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Article: Prey Speu Detention Center Should be Shut for Good
Published on June 8, 2016audio available

Prey Speu “Social Affairs” center has made the headlines again recently following the decision by the Phnom Penh Municipality to keep the detention facility open despite Prime Minister Hun Sen’s support for its closure (Cambodia Daily, “Officials Keep Prey Speu Open After PM’s Rebuke”, June 3, 2016).

Read the full article...

Flash News: Bodyguard Unit Members Convicted of Beating MPs
Published on May 27, 2016

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit with the brutal beating of two CNRP MPs, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sophea, outside the gates of the National Assembly during an anti-Kem Sokha protest on October 26 last year.

The three soldiers - Mao Hoeung, Sot Vanny and Chhay Sarith - were sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with three years suspended for acts of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code. The judge cited the confession of the three and alleged provocation by the victims as mitigating circumstances with regard to sentencing. Property damage charges under Article 411 were dropped due to lack of evidence.

During the trial, the court repeatedly closed down any questioning on the broader involvement of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit in both the October 26 protest, and the subsequent beatings.

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Flash News: "Black Monday Campaign" Escalates as Community Reps Detained
Published on May 16, 2016

This morning, five land community representatives were arrested as people across and outside Cambodia marked the second “Black Monday Campaign” event to call for the release of five human rights defenders detained two weeks ago.

Hundreds of people in Cambodia and abroad are participating in the second "Black Monday Campaign” event, sharing images of themselves wearing black and of the five detained human rights defenders on social media. Boeung Kak Lake community also held an event in their community this morning to call for the release of the five. The social media campaign comes days after calls by Prime Minister Hun Sen to ban colour-coordinated demonstrations following the first “Black Monday" event last week, in which participants dressed in black to call for the release of five human rights defenders. During last week’s events eight human rights workers and activists were detained for wearing black clothes as they attempted to join a planned demonstration to call for the release of the five human rights defenders.

The second “Black Monday Campaign” event has already resulted in further detentions. At about 9am, five women from Thmor Kol, Borei Keila and the former Boeung Kak Lake communities, all wearing black, were arrested outside Chenla theatre in Phnom Penh. The five women - Chray Nim, Im Srey Touch, Yin Shrin, Pouk Sopin and Ngov Nary - are currently detained in Toul Kork district police office.

Update: All five women detained this morning were released from Toul Kork district police office by 10pm.

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