Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Attack on homes further highlights urgency for lasting remedies
Published on April 6, 2014

This morning, two houses were partially destroyed in Boeung Kak Muoy Commune, Toul Kork District, Phnom Penh. Ly Srea Keng, whose house was attacked, has been involved in a longstanding dispute with Khun Sea Company and has suffered a number of previous attacks against him including physical assault and attempted arson. Some people were injured during the violence and were sent for medical treatment.

LICADHO highlighted this case last week in a statement that marked a renewed upswing in violent land grabs since the start of 2014. Today's action is further evidence that the Cambodian government is failing to address the ongoing land crisis in Cambodia.

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Flash News: Court denies rights defenders’ bail request once again
Published on April 4, 2014

This morning, Phnom Penh Municipal Court denied two separate bail requests for Vorn Pao and Sokun Sombath Piseth because the CC3 prison authorities had not provided the court with details of their health status, and to preserve public order.

Pao and Piseth are among the 23 workers and rights defenders arrested in early January. As supporters gathered outside the court state security forces again used heavy handed force to disperse them.

Piseth was denied his special medical request for bail release to undergo surgery on his hand. He was severely beaten and had his hand broken by state security forces during arrest. Due to the delay in providing appropriate medical care, his hand requires urgent surgery. Vorn Pao was also refused bail, previously denied at the Court of Appeal on February 11, and on March 24.

All of the 23 workers and rights defenders, including Pao and Piseth, will be tried at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 8am on April 18.

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Flash News: Phnom Penh Municipal Court trials for arrested workers and rights defenders
Published on March 31, 2014

Today, Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced that on April 4, it will consider the special medical request to temporarily release Sokun Sombath Piseth on bail for five days to undergo surgery on his hand. Piseth who works at the Center for Labor Rights of Cambodia, was arrested in early January along with 22 other workers and rights defenders and has since been detained in CC3 prison. He was severely beaten and had his hand broken by state security forces at the arrest. Due to the delay in providing appropriate medical care, his hand requires urgent surgery.

Vorn Pao, President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA); Sokun Sombath Piseth; Theng Savoeun, Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC); Chan Puthisak, community leader from Boeung Kak Lake; and six other workers who were arrested on January 2 will be tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 8.00am on April 18. At the same time, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court will conduct two separate trials for those arrested on January 3. One trial will be held for Chea Sarath, Yon Sok Chea and Bou Sarith, while a third trial will be held for the remaining 10 of the 23 who were arrested in early January.

Two of the 23, Yon Sok Chea and Bou Sarith, were released on bail on February 8. On February 11, the 21 other men were refused bail at the Court of Appeal and remain detained in CC3. The Court of Appeal again refused Vorn Pao bail on March 24.

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Flash News: Sonando protest cut short by authorities
Published on March 31, 2014

This morning independent radio station owner Mam Sonando was prevented from leading a march from Freedom Park to the Ministry of Information. Sonando had called his supporters to protest the Ministry of Information’s refusal to give him a license for a TV channel and more frequencies for his Beehive Radio station. Before Sonando’s arrival, his supporters were violently dispersed by a large number of security forces, resulting in two men being beaten and sent for medical treatment. One man was briefly detained. He was released after signing an agreement not to participate in future demonstrations. Amid violent shoving by authorities, Sonando gave a short speech to his supporters calling for freedom of information and urging non-violence.

Cambodia currently has no independent TV stations as the Ministry of Information has systematically refused to grant TV licenses to non-CPP (Cambodian People’s Party) affiliated individuals.

Flash News: CNRP lead impromptu march through Phnom Penh
Published on March 30, 2014

Today, around 2000 Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) supporters marched from Wat Botum to the CNRP headquarters passing the Russian Embassy, the Ministry of Information, the Cambodian People’s Party headquarters and National Election Committee office. The march was unplanned and was prompted by the authorities' denial of permission to hold a "People's Congress" in Freedom Park. Since this morning, several roadblocks, checkpoints and a heavy police presence have prevented people from gathering in Freedom Park.

CNRP will hold the congress to discuss the ongoing political deadlock over the results of last year's election. The congress follows this morning's memorial ceremony which took place at Wat Botum.

Flash News: CNRP resumes public gathering with grenade attack remembrance ceremony
Published on March 30, 2014

This morning, more than 1500 people, including Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) supporters, Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy, and some monks, gathered in front of Wat Botum to hold a memorial ceremony for the injured and killed in March 1997 grenade attack. The gathering was the first organized event by CNRP in Phnom Penh since state security forces’ lethal clampdown on freedom of assembly in early January, and the largest public gathering since the Cambodian government put a ban on assembly in January.

Participants encountered several roadblocks, checkpoints and a heavy police presence around Wat Botum and Freedom Park, and many were prevented from attending the ceremony.

This morning’s ceremony will be followed by a ‘People’s Congress’ at CNRP headquarters this afternoon. The congress will discuss the ongoing political deadlock.

Flash News: Communities pray for justice and release of the remaining 21
Published on March 28, 2014

This morning, about 100 community and land activists from Boeung Kak Lake, Borei Keila and Thmor Kol, and three monks gathered in front of Ministry of Justice to conduct a prayer ceremony for freedom for the 23 men, including rights defenders and workers, arrested in early January. They were also demanding justice for those killed and injured during the same clashes.

The group was initially blocked from gathering in front of Wat Ounalom and the ceremony was moved to Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court and the Royal Palace before returning to the Supreme Court for more prayers and songs. Chan Puthisak, a community leader from Boeung Kak Lake, is among the 21 still detained in CC3 prison.

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Flash News: Appeal Court denies bail release for Vorn Pao
Published on March 24, 2014

This afternoon, Vorn Pao, the president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), was refused bail from the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh as 300 of his supporters gathered outside the courtroom calling for his release.

Pao, who was not present for the hearing, was arrested with 22 other men, including rights defenders and workers, amid the January 2-3 lethal clampdown on the garment worker strikes. He has been detained in CC3 prison since then. Two of the 23, Yon Sok Chea and Bou Sarith, were released on bail on February 8. On February 11, the 21 other men were refused bail at the Phnom Penh Appeal Court and remain detained in CC3.

According to the court, Pao's five million Riel bail was refused on the grounds that there are two charges against him; that the investigation of the case has been closed and it will go to trial; and to ensure that Pao is present at the trial. His trial date has not yet been set.

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Article: Year 2013 in Review: Land, a Country in Crisis
Published on March 21, 2014

Elections aside, land remained the single most contentious issue in Cambodia in 2013, as it has been for at least the last 10 years. Over 2.2 million hectares of Cambodian land have been granted to large firms in the form of economic land concessions (ELCs).



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Article: Year 2013 in Review: Impunity in the Cambodian Courts
Published on March 20, 2014

As the swelling protests were met with increased suppression, the judicial system remained true to form. 2013 saw a number of high-profile cases in court, with mixed results.



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Article: Year 2013 in Review: A shrinking space for assembly and expression in Cambodia
Published on March 19, 2014

If 2012 was the most violent year ever documented in terms of authorities using lethal force against individual human rights defenders (HRDs), 2013 saw the Cambodian authorities turn that force towards public protests.



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Article: Year 2013 in Review: Cambodian Elections
Published on March 18, 2014

2013 was dominated by one event: the National Assembly elections.

Throughout the year, to shouts of “Change! Change!”, Phnom Penh saw some of its largest demonstrations in decades. Nine days before the elections, which fell on July 28, opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned from France to a crowd of more than 100,000 people and there was a mood of excitement and anticipation as voting day approached.



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Flash News: Villagers block access to their endangered community in eastern Koh Kong
Published on March 16, 2014

Today, dozens of villagers have staged a road block in Koh Kong's Thmar Bang district to prevent Chinese company Sinohydro from bringing heavy machinery into the area for a large scale hydroelectric dam project which would force hundreds of families off their land.

This marks the third consecutive day villagers have blocked the road. Sinohydro's local partner Pheapimex, owned by CPP senator Lao Mengkin, has been involved in some of Cambodia's most notorious land conflicts, including the Boeung Kak lake dispute.

Flash News: Gatherings continue for justice and release
Published on March 3, 2014

This morning, civil society groups gathered once again to call for the release of 21 detainees, including garment workers and human rights activists, arrested in early January.

The group, including land communities, monks, youth networks, unions and NGOs, chanted, banged drums and sang outside Wat Ounalom for about an hour from 8am. The gathering was disrupted after authorities confiscated the drum and loudspeakers; a smaller group of about 200 participants, mainly from land communities, moved to Daun Penh district office to ask for the return of their confiscated equipment. They were confronted by security guards outside the office, leading to a minor clash which saw two women injured.

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Flash News: Kbal Thnal verdict: One man jailed while killing remains un-prosecuted
Published on February 28, 2014

This morning, three among the six men arrested at Kbal Thnal during deadly clashes on September 15, 2013, were found guilty of intentional violence and intentional destruction of property. The other three were cleared of the charges. All six men were tried at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on February 17, 2014.

Nguyen Thydoc, who has been held in CC1 since his arrest, was was sentenced to three years in prison with two years suspended. Van Neun and Lach Sameun, who were released on bail on October 22, 2013, were also sentenced to three years with all their remaining sentences suspended. All three men plan to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, no one from the armed forces has been prosecuted for ordering the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians which resulted in the death of a bystander on September 15.

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