Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Last of the "Free the 19" detainees, Ly Seav Minh, granted bail by Supreme Court
Published on April 24, 2015

Ly Seav Minh was released on bail this morning following a decision by the Supreme Court. She spent more than five months in pre-trial detention at Prey Sar’s CC2 prison after she was arrested on November 18, 2014. She is charged with violence against the possessor of immoveable property and a potential two years in prison and $6,250 in fines.

She and her family are involved in a long-running land dispute with the municipality and well-connected tycoon Khun Sear, to which the municipality sold their land in 2010.

Ly Seav Minh is the last of the Free the 19 activists to be released from Prey Sar’s CC1 and CC2 prisons.

Related Material:

Flash News: Five CNRP and three defrocked monks released following political negotiations
Published on April 13, 2015

This afternoon, eight more of the Free the 19 activists were released from detention in Prey Sar’s CC1 prison.

Three defrocked monks – Venerable Seung Hai, Venerable Khith Vannak, and Venerable Sang Kosal – and five CNRP members and supporters – Meach Sovannara, Sum Puthy, Tep Narin, Ke Khim, and Ouk Pich Samnang – were released on bail. All eight were arrested between September and November last year and face a variety of charges. The cases against all those released remain open.

The five CNRP members and supporters will be required to post bail by April 20. Meach Sovannara bail was set at 10 million riel while Sum Puthy, Tep Narin, Ke Khim, and Ouk Pich Samnang have been requested to post 3 million riel each.

Today’s bail decisions follow the release on Saturday of 10 Boeung Kak land rights activists who were granted a royal pardon having spent five months in prison for the offence of obstructing public traffic.

All 18 releases result from the latest round of political negotiations between leaders of the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP.

The last of the Free the 19 activists, Ly Seav Minh, remains in pre-trial detention facing charges of violence against the possessor of immoveable property and a potential two years in prison and $6,250 in fines. She and her family are involved in a long-running land dispute with the well-connected tycoon Khun Sear.

Related Material:

Flash News: 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists freed following royal pardon, more releases expected
Published on April 11, 2015

Shortly before 4 pm, 10 Boeung Kak Lake activists who were imprisoned in November 2014 were freed following a royal pardon from King Sihamoni. The release was part of the latest political deal between the ruling and opposition party leaders on Thursday.

Additional releases of opposition activists and monks are expected this coming Monday, April 13, 2015.

Related Material:

Flash News: Trial of 11 CNRP to continue on April 20
Published on March 27, 2015

The trial of 11 members, officials, and supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has concluded for the day.

The court denied another bail request for both Ouch Pich Samnang and Tep Narin, while concluding testimony of Ouern Narith and beginning testimony of Khin Chamreun. All defendants will reappear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 8 am on April 20.

CNRP national election candidate for Banteay Meanchey and online radio owner, Meach Sovannara, Official of Public Affairs Department, Ouern Narith, and Chief of Phnom Penh Youths, Khin Chamreun, have all been charged with participating in and leading an insurrectionary movement (Criminal Code articles 456, 457, and 459). CNRP Chbar Ampov council member Sum Puthy, Chbar Ampov district youth leader, Neang Sokhun, Tuol Kork district youth leader San Kimheng, youth members Tep Narin, San Seihak, and An Batham, along with CNRP supporters, Ouk Pich Samnang and Ke Khim, have all been charged with participating in an insurrectionary movement (Criminal Code articles 456 and 457).

Representatives from the United Nations and European Union were present throughout the trial.

Related Material:

Flash News: Free The 19-land activist, Ly Seav Minh, denied bail
Published on March 19, 2015

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court today denied a bail request for 'Free the 19' activist, Ly Seav Minh. Whilst today was originally scheduled for a trial, the judge agreed to hear a request for bail. After listening for about 20 minutes to arguments raised by the defense lawyers, the prosecutor and Ly Seav Minh herself, the judge denied bail after 5 minutes’ deliberation and without providing any reasons.

Ly Seav Minh was arrested on November 18, 2014 and has been imprisoned under pre-trial detention ever since. She is charged with the offence of violence against the possessor of immoveable property (Land Law article 253) following a complaint filed by the Khun Sea Company, a well-connected company that has long sought to oust Ly Seav Minh and her family from their property. The complaint relates to events on April 29, 2013 but was only filed at court on September 5, 2014.

After leaving the courtroom today Ly Seav Minh said, "Today I feel very disappointed about court decision because I didn’t get justice. But because I have all the support from community and NGO I feel strong and can continue to struggle for justice." Her trial was re-scheduled for 2pm on March 25, 2014. No reason was given for the postponement.

Related Material:

Flash News: Protesters seek Michelle Obama’s support in cases of imprisoned activists
Published on March 17, 2015

This morning, a group of more than 100 protesters from Boeung Kak, Borei Keila, Thmor Kol and Tuol Sangke communities, including around 60 children and a number of monks, gathered in front of the US embassy to call for the release from prison of their fellow community and family members. The group collected signatures in support of a request for intervention by Michelle Obama in the cases of the imprisoned land rights activists. Michelle Obama will visit Cambodia on March 21 and 22 as part of the Let Girls Learn international education initiative.

The imprisoned activists belong to a group of 19 men and women who were all arrested towards the end of 2014. Eleven of the activists were tried, convicted and sentenced within days of their arrest. The remaining eight are still awaiting their trials and are held in pre-trial detention. All 19 are detained in Prey Sar’s CC1 and CC2 prisons.

Related Material:

Article: Cambodian Women on the Front Line: Six Stories of Resistance
Published on March 13, 2015

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015 LICADHO, together with the Highlanders Association of Cambodia, organised a forum in Ban Lung, Ratanakiri for people affected by land grabbing. The forum was attended by over 100 representatives from eight different indigenous communities from within Ratanakiri and by land rights activists from other provinces around the country. The theme of the forum was the effect of land conflicts on women and the majority of the participants were women. The participants shared their experiences and ideas and many performed songs they had written telling the stories of their land disputes. We profile six of the women who attended the forum. Their stories illustrate the many hardships faced by women affected by land disputes as well as their remarkable spirit and resilience.



Read the full article... audio available

Flash News: Over 500 march to call for release of female land activists in Phnom Penh
Published on March 8, 2015

Over 500 activists and monks marched from the Ministry of Women's Affairs to Prey Sar's CC2 prison to call for the release of 11 women land rights activists on International Women’s Day. The peaceful protesters travelled over eight kilometres to call for the release of the 11 women who are among the group of 'Free the 19' activists who have been in prison since late 2014.

Authorities did not block marchers but confiscated two coffins that protestors used to signify the death of rights and justice in Cambodia.

Related Material:

Flash News: 19 communities in Preah Sihanouk province demand resolutions to land conflicts
Published on February 24, 2015

Today approximately 160 villagers from 19 different land communities in Preah Sihanouk province marched over 8km from Kampenh Chas community to the Provincial Governor’s Office.

The group submitted a petition requesting a resolution to a land conflict affecting the Kampenh Chas community. Today marks the end of three days of activity which began on February 22 with religious prayers. Yesterday the group marched to the Provincial Cadastral Commission to submit the petition.

Today the Provincial Governor was unavailable but community leaders met with the Deputy Provincial Governor this morning.
“We want to be able to live on our land. We need justice for our communities,” said land activist and co-organiser of the event, Hang Chenda.

Article: Spotlight on The 19: The Freedom Park “Insurrectionists”
Published on February 24, 2015

The trial of 11 Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) members and supporters was due to be held yesterday at 8 am at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Last Thursday, and at very short notice, lawyers for the 11 were informed that the hearing had been postponed. All have been charged with offences they are alleged to have committed during violence which took place at Freedom Park on July 15, 2014. This is the third time there has been a delay in hearing the criminal case against them. Five of the 11 - Meach Sovannara, Sum Puthy, Tep Narin, Ouk Pich Samnang, and Ke Khim - are among the group of ‘Free the 19’ detainees currently imprisoned in Prey Sar’s Correctional Center 1 and Correctional Center 2 .



Read the full article...

Flash News: Grassroots activist Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson deported from Cambodia
Published on February 23, 2015

Grassroots activist, Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson from local environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Mother Nature, has been deported from Cambodia on Thai Airways flight TG585, which departed for Bangkok, Thailand, at 8.35 pm this evening. Mr. Gonzalez-Davidson will then board Thai Airways flight TG948 at 00.10 am tonight, bound for Madrid.

The grassroots activist, known for his work in the Areng Valley, Koh Kong province, was arrested and forced into a car near the Phnom Penh night market by government authorities only hours after a warning was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen during a public speech. More than 100 supporters gathered outside the Department of Immigration where Mr. Gonzalez-Davidson was held since about 2.20 pm this afternoon.

Related Material:

Flash News: Grassroots activist threatened with deportation arrested in Phnom Penh
Published on February 23, 2015

This afternoon, Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson from local environmental Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), Mother Nature, was arrested and forced into a car near the Phnom Penh night market by government authorities only hours after a warning was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen during a public speech. Mr. Gonzalez-Davidson was arrested shortly after 1 pm and driven in a black car, followed by bodyguards, to the Department of Immigration at around 2.20 pm this afternoon.

Mr. Gonzalez-Davidson has been at the forefront of a campaign by Mother Nature to halt the controversial development of a hydroelectric dam in Areng valley, Koh Kong province. He was denied a visa renewal earlier this month, in what has been a sustained attempt by the government to quash grassroots advocacy and silence dissent.

Related Material:

Article: Spotlight on the 19: Ly Seav Minh
Published on January 28, 2015

Ly Seav Minh is 23 years old and lives with her mother, father and brother in Toul Kork district, Phnom Penh. The family has lived on the land for 35 years and despite possessing evidence of their lengthy occupation of the land, they have been involved in a long-running land dispute with the municipality and the Khun Sea Company, to which the municipality sold the land in 2010. Originally six other families were involved in the dispute but all have now accepted compensation payments and moved away after facing consistent intimidation from the company.



Read the full article...

Flash News: 11 of 'Free the 19' have convictions upheld
Published on January 26, 2015

The Court of Appeal has upheld the convictions of two cases concerning 10 wrongfully convicted Beoung Kak Lake (BKL) activists and one Buddhist monk.

In the first case, Tep Vanny’s sentence has been upheld with a reduced fine of $375. Song Srey Leap, Kong Chantha, Phan Chhunreth, Po Chorvy, and Nong Sreng have received reduced sentences of 10 months in prison with a $375 fine. Nget Khun received a reduced sentence of 6 months in prison and a $250 fine.

In the second case, Heng Pich, Im Srey Touch, and Phoung Sopheap all had their convictions upheld with a reduced sentence of 10 months in prison and a fine of $375.Venerable Seung Hai had his conviction and sentence upheld.

International observers included the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), UN Women in Cambodia, the European Union, and the German embassy.

Related Material:

Flash News: 11 of 'Free the 19' have appeal decisions delayed
Published on January 22, 2015

This afternoon the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal heard appeals in two cases concerning 10 wrongfully convicted women land rights activists and one Buddhist monk. After hastily conducting the two hearings in just over four hours today, the Court of Appeal will announce a verdict in both cases on January 26, 2015 at 8 a.m

In the first case, Nget Khun, Tep Vanny, Song Srey Leap, Kong Chantha, Phan Chhunreth, Po Chorvy, and Nong Sreng, all long-term Boeung Kak Lake (BKL) activists were convicted of obstructing public traffic on November 11, 2014 and were sentenced to one year in prison and a $500 fine.

In the second case, three more long-term BKL activists, Heng Pich, Im Srey Touch, and Phoung Sopheap, and Buddhist monk Venerable Seung Hai were convicted on November 12, 2014 of aggravated obstruction of public officials and also sentenced to 1 year in prison and fined $500.

Outside the court, over 300 peaceful supporters gathered in solidarity, including Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando.

Inside the courtroom, Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Member of Parliament Mu Sochua and UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Cambodia, Surya Subedi were in attendance. Representatives from the UK, German, U.S., Swedish, and Australian embassies, the European Union, Human Rights Watch, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and UN Women in Cambodia were also present.

Related Material:

Prison Population Watch
13,504 Occupancy Rate: ↗161%

Click here for the latest report on prison overcrowding
Monthly population figures as of November 30, 2014, from the 18 prisons monitored by LICADHO

The Great Cambodian Giveaway

Visualizing land concessions over time