Latest Flash News & ArticlesFlash 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Published on January 14, 2015
This morning, three alleged members of the Khmer People’s Power Movement (KPPM), Serei Bunlong, Seng Sokmeng and Um Phirun, were convicted of offenses stemming from their activities shortly before the July 2013 National Election. Bunlong and Sokmeng were sentenced to six years in prison and fined $1,250 while Phirun was sentenced to 5 years in prison and received the same fine. All three have had their right to vote rescinded indefinitely.
The three were arrested and detained in Banteay Meanchey Province a month before the July 2013 National Election, following the distribution of watches, radios, DVDs, and t-shirts bearing the KPPM logo and calling for people not to vote in unfair elections. They have been convicted under Criminal Law Article 453 that criminalizes plotting an attack liable to endanger the institutions of the Kingdom of Cambodia or violate the integrity of the national territory, and Law on Election of Members of the National Assembly’s Article 124 that criminalizes the use of force or violence to deter eligible voters from voting.
The KPPM is led by Sourn Serey Ratha, who was also convicted today in absentia. Serey Ratha is a controversial figure in Cambodia who has been labeled a terrorist by the government. This accusation has been used to groundlessly arrest and convict - without evidence and often on the basis of demonstrably false comments made by Ratha - critics of the government, such as radio owner Mam Sonando.
Published on January 9, 2015
Earlier this morning, defrocked monks Venerable Seung Hai, Venerable Khith Vannak, and Venerable Sang Kosal arrived at the Phnom Penh Appeal Court to request bail, as some 70 supporters gathered outside. Venerable Khith Vannak and Venerable Sang Kosal were appealing for bail following the delay of their previous hearing on December 30, 2014, which lasted just 15 minutes.
Within one hour of arriving at the court, all three defrocked monks were denied bail and transported back to Prey Sar’s CC1 prison.
Venerable Khith Vannak and Venerable Sang Kosal were arrested on November 12, 2014, while carrying national and religious flags attached to bamboo flagpoles in support of land activists from Preah Vihear province. They have been charged with participation in a criminal association (Criminal Code article 499) and face up to five years in prison and $2,500 in fines if found guilty.
Venerable Seung Hai was arrested on the morning of November 11, 2014, outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court whilst protesting for the release of seven Boeung Kak Lake activists. He has already been convicted of obstructing public officials with aggravating circumstances (Criminal Code article 504) and has been sentenced to one year in prison with a $500 fine. He now stands accused of using forged public documents (Criminal Code article 630) and the unauthorized wearing of Buddhist robes (Criminal Code article 508). He faces penalties of up to five years in prison and $2,625 in fines.
Published on January 3, 2015
This morning hundreds of people gathered at the site of last year’s fatal shootings on Veng Sreng Road to remember the dead and missing. Families of the victims and some of those wrongfully imprisoned following the violence spoke to the crowds. Security forces including Brigade 70 and 90 soldiers were visibly patrolling in the area but did not attempt to prevent the gathering.
Supporters then attempted to march to Borei Keila to mark the three-year anniversary of the forced evictions of Borei Keila communities but after marching almost 3km were blocked by over 100 military and riot police who grabbed, shoved and hit some participants. Marchers were allowed to proceed in vehicles only.
Published on December 30, 2014
This morning the Phnom Penh Appeal Court heard the appeal against denial of bail for activist monks Venerable Khith Vannak and Venerable Sang Kosal. The hearing which was closed to the public lasted just 15 minutes and a decision on bail will not be announced until January 9 at 8am. Both monks were defrocked following their arrest and are currently held in pre-trial detention in CC1 prison.
The two monks were arrested on November 12, 2014, while carrying national and religious flags attached to bamboo flag poles in support of land activists from Preah Vihear province. They have been charged with participation in a criminal association (Criminal Code article 499) and face up to five years in prison and $2,500 in fines if found guilty.
Following the short hearing more than 100 monks, land activists and rights workers protested in front of the court calling for the two monks to be released.
Published on December 25, 2014
The trial of 11 CNRP leaders and supporters ended abruptly today at 4pm after the judge and prosecutor returned from a five-hour lunch recess. Earlier the judge had announced that the trial would be held over three non-consecutive days. The next hearing will be in two two weeks from now on January 8 at 8am. This morning’s proceedings consisted of arguments for and against bail release for the five detained. Bail was rejected for all five.
During proceedings around 400-500 police and three fire trucks were stationed inside Olympic Stadium near the court near where hundreds of people had gathered in support.
Published on December 23, 2014
Approximately 400 people gathered outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court this morning in support of Venerable Keo Somaly, an activist monk who was being questioned by the public prosecutor over an altercation with another monk on November 13. The prosecutor’s investigation is ongoing and Venerable Somaly has not yet been charged with any offence. Venerable Somaly was one of the monks who recently led peace marchers in the 2014 International Human Rights Day celebrations.
Published on December 9, 2014
This morning at Kros village, Samrong commune, Prek Phnov district, Phnom Penh, 150 police, military police, and security guards, have blocked 80 peace marchers along National Road 5 from entering the city.
About 30 security guards in Pou Senchey district are also gathering to block marchers entering Phnom Penh between Kombol commune and Kantouk commune, on National Road 4, while security forces have also been mobilizing to block National Roads 1, 2, and 6.
Marchers from all six national roads are planning to reach pagodas in Phnom Penh this afternoon to sleep overnight before marching to the National Assembly to submit petitions on International Human Rights Day.
Published on December 7, 2014
Earlier today, peace marchers along National Roads 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, continued making their way towards Phnom Penh to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Marchers on National Road 2 yet again faced difficulties accessing a pagoda for an overnight stay. 130 marchers, including 22 monks, were refused entry at Wat Neng Kmao until around 7pm this evening after lengthy negotiations.
On National Road 3, 39 monks and around 20 marchers were refused entry by the chief monk at Wat Prasat Srakeo. After no success in negotiating with the chief monk, the peace marchers continued to Wat Arng Montrey Mey to receive the same message as the previous pagoda. The marchers eventually found an overnight stay at Wat Ang Rong in Takeo province.
Peace marches along all other roads continued as normal today with no serious incidents. On National Road 5, villagers in Kampong Chhnang province donated food and water to marching monks, while on National Road 1, villagers cooked food for marchers, who were visited by Cambodia National Rescue Party Member of Parliament Real Khemrin, and independent radio station owner, Mam Sonando.
Published on December 6, 2014
This morning, peace marches along National Roads 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 continued making their way to Phnom Penh for International Human Rights Day on December 10.
In Takeo, on National Road 2, marchers were allowed to proceed this morning after soldiers and police officers armed with AK-47’s, had previously blocked the march from proceeding under orders of Takeo Provincial Governor Lay Vannak. Many marchers were left with no option but to sleep out in the open for the night.
On National Road 6, 200 marchers and 30 monks from Ratanakiri and Kompong Cham were refused to entry to Wat Skun last night after the district monk for Cheung Prey blocked the gates. Marchers eventually found a place to stay on a plot of land with little shelter 5km down the road.
Additionally, on National Road 6 today, marchers were only able to rest for lunch at Wat Chan Moly after monks were urged by local residents to unlock the gates.
Peace marches along all other roads continued as normal today with no serious incidents.
Published on December 5, 2014
Over a hundred monks and civilians are being blocked on National Road 2 in Takeo by a group of armed soldiers and police officers on the order of Takeo Provincial Governor Lay Vannak. Authorities have asserted that the group will not be allowed to go ahead with the peace march unless they obtain permission from the Interior Ministry.
Interference began yesterday when authorities locked the gates into Wat Saom, located in Takeo’s Kirivong district. As a result, monks and citizens were left with nowhere sheltered to sleep, having to settle on the land of nearby villagers.
Elsewhere in the country groups have begun the nationwide peace march for International Human Rights Day towards Phnom Penh on National Roads 1,3,4,5,6 and 7.