Latest Flash News & ArticlesFlash News: Communities Gather for Tep Vanny’s Supreme Court Bail Hearing
Published on January 18, 2017
Land activist Tep Vanny faced a 45-minute Supreme Court bail hearing this morning as community members from across Phnom Penh gathered outside in support. Supreme Court judge Kim Sathavy will announce the bail ruling on 25 January.
Vanny has been in pre-trial detention since last August on charges of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, relating to a protest held by Boeung Kak Lake community in 2013 in front of the Prime Minister's house. This case is just one of three historic cases which were re-activated in August 2016 while Vanny was awaiting trial on separate charges relating to a Black Monday protest.
As of today, she has been detained for 156 days.
Published on January 14, 2017
This morning, Din Puthy, CNRP's deputy chief of operations in Poipet, was released on bail from Banteay Meanchey prison.
He was charged with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances on December 24, and had been imprisoned since then. The charges stem from accusations of hitting immigration police officer Chhean Pisith with his car, despite video footage and witness accounts casting serious doubt on the claims. Appeals judge Nuon Ratana ruled for his release on bail following a closed hearing in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Published on December 10, 2016
Thousands of people gathered today to celebrate International Human Rights Day across Cambodia after a week-long series of celebrations across the country.
In Phnom Penh, groups who had planned to gather outside the Council for the Development of Cambodia were forced from the area by para-police and anti-demonstration police. After attempts to gather elsewhere were met with a similar show of force, the group gathered at Freedom Park, where despite a sustained heavy police presence – with about 300 anti-demonstration police positioned around the park – a diverse group of about 1,000 people from unions, communities, other grassroots groups and NGOs joined to celebrate.
Another 12 celebrations took place this morning in eleven different provinces, encompassing marches and processions and public forums. In Kampot, one planned celebration was shut down by district authorities who claimed the group required permission to hold their event.
Altogether, International Human Rights Day celebrations organised by Friends of December 10th over the last week have seen about 11,000 people across Cambodia come together to celebrate human rights and speak out against injustice.
Published on December 9, 2016
An International Human Rights Day celebration in Kampot province was shut down this afternoon by provincial authorities, who also threatened to halt a further two events planned for tomorrow.
About 80 community members attempted to gather this afternoon to discuss human rights in a public forum in Svay Ang, in Kampot. A group of local authorities, led by a Chhouk district official, ordered the villagers to halt the forum and dismantle the meeting tent after Kampot’s governor claimed the group required permission to hold their event. Authorities also said that another two celebrations planned for tomorrow in Kampot would not be allowed.
Thousands of Cambodians have gathered and marched to celebrate International Human Rights Day throughout Cambodia over the past week, organised by Friends of December 10th. Celebrations will culminate tomorrow, with 14 events planned in Phnom Penh and various provinces.
Published on December 8, 2016
This morning, elected opposition commune council chief Seang Chet was released from prison after yesterday receiving a royal pardon from King Sihamoni. The pardon came 48 hours after his conviction by the Phnom Penh court of first instance and means he will no longer have to serve a five year sentence for ”bribery of a witness” in a politically-motivated case led by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). He had already spent 228 days in detention.
The release follows an apparent easing of political tensions between the ruling and opposition party leaders after a similar pardon was granted to acting opposition leader Kem Sokha on 2 December after spending over six months at the opposition’s headquarters under defacto house-arrest.
Published on December 4, 2016
International Human Rights Day celebrations kicked off this weekend with a march in Kampong Chhnang and gatherings in Phnom Penh.
In Kampong Chhnang, about 250 people from Lor Peang, Samrong, Buntheay Meas, Savong and Boeung Kak communities from around the province - which have all been affected by land conflicts - were joined by monks, NGOs and other groups for the five-kilometre march, which ended with a public forum on human rights. In Phnom Penh, about 100 people from Boeung Chhouk and Damnak Trayoeung communities also gathered to celebrate with community-wide forums on human rights, including calling for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders.
The celebrations were among the first in a series of events celebrating IHRD across the country which will take place over the next week.
Published on November 30, 2016
This morning, ADHOC staffers Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan, and election official Ny Chakrya, were denied bail following a Supreme Court hearing conducted by judge Kim Sothavy last week.
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.
Today's judgment follows an Appeal Court decision earlier this week to throw out an appeal lodged by the five against a decision by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to extend their pre-trial detention for a further six months beyond the six-month limit stipulated under Cambodian law. They have now been imprisoned for almost eight months.
Published on November 7, 2016
This afternoon, marking his 450th day in jail, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted opposition senator Hong Sok Hour of forgery and incitement charges, handing down a seven-year prison sentence.
In August 2015, Hong Sok Hour was charged with forgery of public documents, use of forged public documents, and incitement to commit a crime after posting a video containing images of an altered version of a reproduction of the 1979 treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam on Facebook. During his trial, which began in October 2015 and resumed just two weeks ago after more than a year's postponement, Hong Sok Hour’s defence lawyers were prevented from publicly presenting exculpatory evidence by trial judge Ros Piseth. He has now been detained in CC1 prison since his arrest in August 2015 by special forces on the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Exiled opposition president Sam Rainsy has also been charged as an accomplice in the same case, but not brought to trial.
Published on November 4, 2016
This morning, the Appeal Court upheld CNRP deputy leader Kem Sokha's conviction for refusing to appear as a witness after rejecting all arguments put forward by defence lawyers.
Appeal Court judge Seng Sivutha also upheld the five months prison sentence and 800,000 riel (about $200) fine handed down by the Municipal Court following Kem Sokha's trial in September. The deputy opposition leader now has one more opportunity to appeal his conviction at the Supreme Court; if the conviction is upheld there, his sentence can be enforced.
In a simultaneous hearing this morning, the Supreme Court ruled against a motion which challenged the Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge's initial decision to bring Kem Sokha to trial. The challenge was brought on the grounds of his parliamentary immunity.
Published on October 10, 2016
This afternoon, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced opposition CNRP MP Um Sam An to two years and six months’ imprisonment with a four million riel ($1,000) fine after convicting him of incitement to commit a felony and incitement to commit discrimination under Articles 495 and 496 of the Cambodian Criminal Code.
During the trial hearing, Um Sam An and his lawyers made repeated complaints that the trial amounted to a violation of his constitutional rights to parliamentary immunity and freedom of expression before leaving the court in protest. Trial judge Heng Sokna completed the hearing in their absence.
The case relates to online expression and Facebook posts made by Um Sam An over one year ago in relation to the ongoing political dispute between the ruling party and the opposition over Cambodia’s border with Vietnam. The authorities interpreted the continued existence of the Facebook posts one year later as evidence of a “flagrant offence” – bypassing Um Sam An’s parliamentary immunity.
Published on September 19, 2016
This morning, Boeung Kak Lake representatives Tep Vanny, Bo Chhorvy, Kong Chantha and Heng Mom were found guilty of obstruction of a public official with aggravating circumstances and insult relating to a November 2011 protest.
Judge Ly Sokleng sentenced all four women to six months' imprisonment after a three-hour hearing at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Tep Vanny was sent back to pre-trial detention in CC2 prison – where she has now been for nearly five weeks – for separate charges relating to a protest held by Boeung Kak Lake community in 2013 in front of the Prime Minister's house. No special enforcement order was issued so Bo Chhorvy and Kong Chantha – as well as Heng Mom, who was tried in absentia – were not arrested as their sentence will not be enforced until all appeals are exhausted. None of the evidence presented at the trial sufficiently proved the guilt of the four women.
About 30 community members and supporters from other land communities and civil society groups gathered outside the court during the trial.
Published on September 14, 2016
This morning a group of representatives from the Boeung Kak Lake community delivered petitions to the World Bank and the embassy of the Delegation of the European Union to Cambodia – calling for intervention to secure a resolution for the community’s remaining land conflict, the release of detained activist Tep Vanny and the dropping of charges against all members of the Boeung Kak Lake community.
At the World Bank, a group of approximately 30 para-police confronted the community representatives, accusing them of obstructing entrances to the World Bank before pushing the gathering away from the building. Shortly afterwards a representative of the World Bank accepted the petition.
At the European Union, Boeung Kak Lake representatives Bov Sophea and Song Sreyleap were permitted to enter the embassy, where an assistant to the ambassador accepted the petition. After leaving the embassy Song Sreyleap delivered a short speech to the media calling on the Cambodian government to resolve the remaining land dispute and to clear all criminal charges against members of the community. The representatives pledged to follow up on the petitions.
Published on September 9, 2016
Deputy opposition CNRP leader Kem Sokha was tried in absentia over an hour-long hearing this morning on charges of refusing a summons to appear in court. The prosecutor requested the court treat this as a flagrant offence, so that Kem Sokha cannot benefit from his parliamentary immunity.
The charges were brought in May after Kem Sokha refused two summons to appear as a witness in a case against two CNRP MPs accused of procurement. Their case, in turn, relates to accusations of prostitution leveled against Srey Mom, a woman with whom Kem Sokha had an alleged affair.
About 200 CNRP supporters gathered outside the court during the trial, with a heavy mixed police presence in the nearby Olympic Stadium. One supporter - a CNRP Phnom Penh treasurer Om Dara - was arrested and brought to 7 Makara police station following a brief scuffle between police and supporters.
At the CNRP headquarters in Phnom Penh, Kem Sokha spoke to about 500 CNRP supporters from across the country who gathered there despite police roadblocks set up yesterday at all the main roads into the city and reports of CNRP supporters blocked from coming to Phnom Penh from Svay Rieng and Kampot.
Update: At 2pm, Kem Sokha was convicted of refusing to appear in court under Article 538 of Cambodia's Criminal Code. Trial judge Keo Mony sentenced him to five months' imprisonment with an 800,000 riel (about $200) fine.
Published on September 5, 2016
Six land activists detained in Dangkor district police station since yesterday were finally released this afternoon as groups marked the 18th week of the Black Monday campaign.
The six women – who include a 76-year old injured during their arrest – were held overnight in the police station following their arrest yesterday during a peaceful gathering to call for the release of incarcerated human rights defenders, including Boeung Kak Lake community representative Tep Vanny who was arrested during a Black Monday event on 15 August.
Earlier this morning, police and para-police shut down a separate Black Monday event held by Borei Keila community, ripping down and burning Black Monday posters and signs.
Published on September 4, 2016
Six women from Phnom Penh land communities and four balloon sellers are currently being held in Dangkor district police station after their arrest this morning during a gathering outside Prey Sar’s CC2 prison.
About 100 people from land communities and other groups had gathered outside the prison this morning to call for the release of detained human rights defenders, including Boeung Kak Lake community representative Tep Vanny. As the group attempted to gather outside CC2’s gate, police and para-police confiscated balloons. They arrested the ten people - Yeay Mamy from Boeung Kak Lake community; Phoung Sopheap, Meas Sreypao, Sok Raksmey, Kiev Sary and Cheav Sreynich from Thmor Kol community; and balloon seller Seng Thy along with his son, Theoun Phanha, and nephews Poa Vichea and Chum Sobinkeo - before taking them to the police station.
Tep Vanny has been incarcerated in CC2 prison since 17 August. She had been arrested during a Black Monday gathering two days prior, swiftly tried and convicted of ‘insulting a public official’ within a week. She remains in pre-trial detention facing charges of intentional violence relating to a protest in March 2013, as well as further charges of obstructing and insulting a public official relating to protests in 2011. These old cases were reactivated just last week.
The four balloon sellers were released at about 12pm, after about three hours in detention. The six land community members remain detained.