Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Amendments to Law on Political Parties passed in boycotted National Assembly session
Published on February 20, 2017

Today, the ruling-party members of the National Assembly approved amendments to the Law on Political Parties in a session boycotted by the opposition.

A draft of the law that became publicly available earlier this month contained articles creating unprecedented powers for the Supreme Court to dissolve political parties and ban political leaders for five years, at the request of the Ministry of Interior, on vague and ill-defined grounds such as potential harm to “national unity”. The process has no hearing and explicitly forbids appeal.

The law would allow the Ministry of Interior to suspend political parties for a time period with no maximum duration. The law would also ban individuals with any conviction, spent or unspent, carrying a non-suspended custodial sentence from holding official roles within political parties.

The law, which still requires approval by the Senate, is designated “urgent” meaning it will be immediately implemented once it has been signed by the King.

Flash News: Political Analyst Kim Sok Charged, Sent to Pre-Trial Detention
Published on February 17, 2017audio available

Political analyst Kim Sok was charged with incitement and defamation and brought to CC1 prison this afternoon in relation to a five-day-old complaint brought against him by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

He was charged and sent to pre-trial detention by Phnom Penh investigating judge Rouss Phiset following hours of questioning by prosecutor Seang Sok. The case is the first of two lawsuits the Prime Minister brought against Kim Sok in relation to comments made by the political analyst about the murder of Kem Ley, who was killed last July. The second lawsuit - also alleging defamation and incitement - was lodged after Kim Sok took to the radio to explain his earlier comments. A conviction for incitement carries a jail sentence of six months to two years. The Prime Minister has also asked for compensation in both complaints, totalling USD$502,500.

A crowd of about 250 people gathered outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court in support of Kim Sok this morning.

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Flash News: Land Activists Face Appeal Hearing for 2011 Protest
Published on February 15, 2017audio available

Boeung Kak Lake representatives Tep Vanny, Bo Chhorvy, Kong Chantha and Heng Mom faced a hearing this morning to appeal convictions handed down to them last September by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in relation to a 2011 protest. Appeal Court judge Nhoung Thol will announce the verdict on 27 February. Neither plaintiff was present at the hearing, preventing cross-examination, and evidence presented was limited.

In their first trial, all four women were found guilty of obstruction of a public official with aggravating circumstances and insult and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Since then, Tep Vanny has remained in pre-trial detention in CC2 prison – where she has now been for half a year – for separate charges relating to a protest held by Boeung Kak Lake community in 2013 in front of the Prime Minister's house. Bo Chhorvy, Kong Chantha and Heng Mom were not arrested as the sentences will not be enforced until all appeals are exhausted. None of the evidence presented at the original trial or the appeal hearing sufficiently proved the guilt of the four women.

About 40 community members and supporters from land communities and civil society groups gathered outside the court during today's hearing.

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Flash News: Hundreds Gather in Support of Summonsed Human Rights Defenders
Published on February 8, 2017audio available

About 200 people gathered outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court this afternoon to support human rights defenders Chan Puthisak and Am Sam Ath as they were questioned by a prosecutor in relation to violence which occurred last October when para-police broke up a peaceful World Habitat Day march.

LICADHO Monitoring Manager Am Sam Ath and Boeung Kak Lake community representative Chan Puthisak were both questioned for about an hour and a half as people from local communities and other grassroots groups, NGOs and media gathered outside the court. The two human rights defenders had been summonsed as suspects before prosecutor Ngin Pich in relation to the violence on World Habitat Day, which had left both men badly injured by para-police.

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Flash News: Judge Indefinitely Suspends Trial of Land Activist Tep Vanny
Published on February 3, 2017audio available

The trial of land activist Tep Vanny was suspended just 45 minutes after it began this afternoon by judge Long Kes Phearum, who cited his own sickness and a chaotic situation for the adjournment. Tep Vanny requested for the trial to proceed.

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. About 80 supporters, including community members, NGOs and monks, gathered outside the courtroom for her trial this afternoon. 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 172 days. There is no date set for the trial resumption.

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Flash News: Land Activist Tep Vanny Denied Bail
Published on January 25, 2017audio available

Land activist Tep Vanny has been denied bail following a Supreme Court hearing conducted by judge Kim Sathavy last week.

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. As of today, she has been detained for 163 days. Her trial is due to be held on 3 February. 

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Flash News: Communities Gather for Tep Vanny’s Supreme Court Bail Hearing
Published on January 18, 2017audio available

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.

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Flash News: CNRP Official Released on Bail
Published on January 14, 2017audio available

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.

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Flash News: Celebrating International Human Rights Day Across Cambodia
Published on December 10, 2016audio available

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.

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Flash News: International Human Rights Day Event Shut Down by Kampot Authorities
Published on December 9, 2016audio available

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.

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Flash News: Opposition Commune Council Chief Pardoned, Released
Published on December 8, 2016audio available

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.

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Flash News: International Human Rights Day Celebrations Begin
Published on December 4, 2016audio available

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.

Flash News: Detained Human Rights Defenders Denied Bail by Supreme Court
Published on November 30, 2016audio available

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.

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Flash News: Opposition Senator Convicted, Sentenced to Seven Years for Facebook Video
Published on November 7, 2016audio available

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.

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Flash News: Appeal and Supreme Courts Simultaneously Rule Against Deputy Opposition Leader
Published on November 4, 2016audio available

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.

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