Latest Flash News & Articles

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, 2016

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).

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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:
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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Flash News: Six activists and human rights workers arrested
Published on May 9, 2016

This morning, two senior human rights workers and four land rights activists were arrested as they attempted to make their way to a demonstration that was planned to take place outside Prey Sar’s CC1 and CC2 prisons.

The demonstration was the first “Black Monday” event in which participants dressed in black to call for the release of five human rights defenders detained a week ago following their arrest by the Anti-Corruption Unit. Their detention has been widely criticised both inside and outside Cambodia as an attack against civil society with multiple organisations calling for their release.

Police road blocks on the way to Prey Sar and at Boueng Kak community prevented those who wanted to participate from making their way to the event. The two men, the executive director of NGO Sahmakum Teang Tnaut and a deputy director of LICADHO, were part of a group who were stopped around 2 km from Prey Sar. They are currently being held at Dangkao district police station along with one member of Borei Keila community. Three members of Boeung Kak community were arrested as they attempted to leave the Boeung Kak area and are being held at Daun Penh police station.

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Flash News: Labour Day Celebrated Around Phnom Penh
Published on May 1, 2016

This morning, over 1,400 workers mobilized around Phnom Penh to celebrate International Labour Day.

More than 600 people from unions, associations and other groups gathered at the Olympic Stadium to call for better respect of workers’ rights and freedom of association. At the National Assembly, another 800 people also gathered to celebrate. After the events, some participants moved to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to protest the ongoing detention of five civil society members, including four staffers from human rights organisation ADHOC, by the ACU.

Flash News: Detained civil society members transferred to the Phnom Penh court
Published on May 1, 2016

About 8am this morning, the five civil society members previously detained at the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) were transferred to the Phnom Penh Court of First Instance where they expect to be charged.

The group, four human rights workers from ADHOC and one deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee, have been detained for three days while undergoing questioning by the ACU in relation to an alleged extramarital affair by opposition leader Kem Sokha. The decision by the ACU to detain the five has been strongly condemned by civil society groups.

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Flash News: MP Beatings Trial Begins
Published on April 28, 2016

This morning, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court began the trial of three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit charged 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 are charged with intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional property damage with aggravating circumstances under Criminal Code Articles 218 and 411, respectively. Despite clear evidence of additional perpetrators, the authorities closed the official investigation after the three men came turned themselves in to the police.

Chhay Sarith admitted responsibility for the violence against one of the MPs, citing verbal provocation and - contrary to previous denials - confirmed the identity of the defendants as members of the elite bodyguard unit. However, lawyers for the MPs were prevented from questioning the role of the unit in the violence and wider anti-CNRP protest by the trial judge after complaints from the prosecutor and defence lawyers.

The judge has now suspended proceedings until 10 May 2016 and will resume to hear testimony from all defendants on the attacks against both opposition MPs.

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Flash News: Protesting Union Members Beaten Next to Cambodia's National Assembly
Published on April 4, 2016

This morning, at least two trade unionists were injured as a peaceful gathering near Cambodia's National Assembly to protest the draft Trade Union Law (TUL) was violently broken up by authorities.

About 50 unionists from various unions and associations were prevented from gathering outside the National Assembly by roadblocks and over 100 mixed police forces. As they peacefully assembled in front of the roadblock, the group was suddenly and violently dispersed by about 30 para-police. Sut Chet, from the Collective Union of Movement of Workers (CUMW), was chased and beaten around the head by a group of para-police. Chea Udom, also from CUMW, was also beaten as he tried to help him. Police standing nearby did nothing to stop the violence.

The draft law will be voted on by the National Assembly later today. It has been subject to ongoing national and international criticism, including a UN legal analysis which concluded that the TUL violated national and international law.

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Flash News: Hundreds Continue to Protest Land-Grabbing Sugar Companies in Koh Kong
Published on March 25, 2016

Today, about 300 people from four communes in Sre Ambel and Botom Sakor districts, Koh Kong, marched to submit petitions to their district governors protesting land grabbing by sugar producers.

The communities delivered the petitions to the district governors demanding their support in an ongoing land conflict with Thai company KSL, majority owner of Koh Kong Plantation Co and Koh Kong Sugar Co. The conflict with KSL relates to the land grabbing of over 900 hectares of land and the loss of livelihoods for local families after the company, at the time co-owned by CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat, were granted adjacent land concessions for the two subsidiary companies totaling almost 20,000 hectares.

The communities have been actively protesting the land grabs by the sugar company since the dispute began in 2006.

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Flash News: CNRP 11 Appeal Begins
Published on March 17, 2016

This morning, the Appeal Court began hearings against the convictions of 11 CNRP supporters and officials arrested in late 2014 for their involvement in a July 2014 pro-CNRP protest which turned violent.

The 11 were convicted of charges relating to insurrection and violence in July 2015 following a farcical trial and sentenced to between seven and 20 years’ imprisonment. Today’s hearing covered mostly procedural grounds, with the Appeal Court set to return to the case at a later date. Judges also denied a request from one of the 11, Meach Sovannara, to access medical treatment outside the country.

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Flash News: Cambodian Student Sentenced to 18 Months for Facebook Post
Published on March 15, 2016

This afternoon, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced university student Kong Raya, 25, to 18 months’ imprisonment for calling for a “colour revolution” on his Facebook page. His conviction represents the latest development in a growing trend for authorities to take action against online expression.

Kong Raya, the president of Cambodia Student Network, was arrested for his Facebook comments on August 20 – less than a month after Prime Minister Hun Sen called on police and armed forces to take action over any group or individual attempting a “colour revolution”. He was charged with criminal incitement under Articles 494 and 495 of Cambodia’s criminal code and sent to CC1 prison. With today’s sentence he is set to remain incarcerated for almost another year.

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Flash News: Land activists charged, detained in Kampong Speu
Published on March 11, 2016

This morning, two female land activists were charged under the land law and sent to pre-trial detention by Kampong Speu provincial court.

You Ron, 51, and Ith Rom, 56, were detained in Kampong Speu provincial prison after being charged alongside another female activist, Ith Mom, 47. All three face up to two years’ imprisonment. The charges relate to a land dispute which started in 2011 in Phnom Chhrouch district, Kampong Speu province, when soldiers from the military “ACO” armored vehicle unit encroached on the land of around 100 families. Many of the affected families had farmed the land since 1979. In 2011, one of the detained activists – You Ron – was beaten unconscious by soldiers as she attempted to stop them clearing the land.

In 2013, volunteer students sent to the area in the context of the government’s 2012 land titling scheme (Directive 01) failed to give land titles to the affected families. They instead issued titles to 83 families, some connected to military soldiers, who had not lived in that area previously. The land was later sold to companies. In 2015, representative of the 83 families filed a complaint against six community representatives, including the three women charged today.