Latest Flash News & Articles

Flash News: Eleven rights defenders detained this morning are released
Published on January 21, 2014

The eleven human rights defenders detained this morning during an embassy march to petition diplomatic intervention to release the 23 protesters held in CC3 have been released from the Phnom Penh municipal police station. They were released without charge, but only after signing a letter promising not to participate in future demonstrations.

Flash News: Eleven more human rights defenders detained
Published on January 21, 2014

Eleven people have been detained following a gathering outside the US embassy in Phnom Penh this morning to deliver a petition signed by 182 groups calling for the release of the 23 jailed during violent crackdowns earlier this month. The arrested people are: Rong Chhun, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association (CITA), Boeung Kak lake activists Tep Vanny, Yorm Bopha, Song Sreyleap, Pan Chunreth, Bov Sorphea, Erm Sreytouch, and Ngoun Kimlang, as well as Choung Sopheap, activist from Thmor Kaul airport-area community, Long Kim Heang, staff member of Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), and Cheang Thida, activist of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU).

Additionally, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court just informed NGO lawyers that the 22 of the 23 arrested earlier this month and detained in CC3 have been refused bail release. The Phnom Penh Appeal Court deadline for announcing the bail decision for Vorn Pao, president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), is February 3, 2014.

Flash News: Association leader released after an overnight detention
Published on January 20, 2014

At 10:20AM, Sokchhun Oeung, Vice President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), was released from Phnom Penh municipal police station where he had been detained 17-hours overnight following his arrest during yesterday's gathering.

The 23 rights defenders and workers arrested earlier in January remain detained in CC3 prison. They include Vorn Pao, President of IDEA.

Flash News: One more association leader arrested during prayer calling for release of 23 detained leaders & workers
Published on January 19, 2014

A gathering this afternoon calling for the release of the 23 workers and rights defenders arrested earlier this month, and for an increase in the minimum wage, has ended with the arrest of Sokchhun Oeung, Vice President of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA). Vorn Pao, President of IDEA, was among the 23 rights defenders and workers arrested earlier in the month.

At 4pm, before the gathering began, media and human rights observers waiting at Wat Ounalom for the main group to arrive were forced out of the grounds by about 50 security guards and civilians wearing black motorcycle helmets. The group moved to Preah Ong Dongkau spirit house in front of the Royal Palace, closely followed by the guards and civilians. At about 5pm, there were multiple standoffs which involved the guards intimidating and pushing demonstrators for over an hour. Organisers and rights observers responded by linking arms, singing the Cambodian national anthem and songs of peaceful resistance. During this period, at least two trucks of riot police arrived at the palace. At 5.30pm, they arrested Sokchhun Oeung, who was standing towards the back of the gathering. He has been taken to the Phnom Penh municipal police station. Lawyers are currently on their way there to try and secure his release. According to Cambodian law, he can be detained for up to 24 hours without seeing a lawyer and up to 48 hours without charge.

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Flash News: Confirmation of 23 detained arrestees held in CC3 Prison
Published on January 8, 2014

At 10 am, Sem Sakola, a Phnom Penh investigation judge, called LICADHO lawyers to confirm that six clients arrested and charged during the violent crackdown of garment protesters in the Canadia Industrial Area on Veng Sreng Road last week are being held in CC3 prison. The six clients include Vorn Pao, president of union Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Theng Savoeun, president of the Coalition of Cambodian Farmer’s Community (CCFC), and Chan Puthisak, a land activist from Boeung Kak Lake.

As well, the CC3 prison director has permitted a LICADHO doctor to treat all 23 individuals this afternoon. CC3 prison is an isolated prison located two hours from Kampong Cham town northeast of the capital, Phnom Penh. As of December 2013, CC3 prison held 1,496 male prisoners.

Flash News: Five more human rights defenders arrested
Published on January 6, 2014

Five female representatives of Boeung Kak Lake community were arrested this morning as they prepared to protest in front of the French Embassy for the release of other imprisoned human rights defenders.

Meanwhile authorities continue to refuse to disclose the place of detention of at least 23 other people who were arrested and charged during recent brutal crackdowns in Phnom Penh. One of them is 17 year old boy. For the past three days their families, lawyers and independent medical professionals have been denied information about their location and health condition. Some were savagely beaten during arrest in Phnom Penh and are in urgent need of medical attention.

Those arrested this morning are Tep Vanny, Yorm Bopha, Pan Chunreth, Bop Chorvy and Sok Srey Leap. They are currently held at a police station on National Road 5.

Flash News: Ten Arrested by Soldiers Charged and Sent to Prison
Published on January 3, 2014

Yesterday, January 2, 2014, ten men, including Vorn Pao, President of IDEA, Theng Savoeun, Coordinator of CCFC, and Chan Puthisak, community leader from Boeung Kak Lake, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers in front of the Yak Jin factory on National Road #4. This morning they were taken to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court t and charged with two offences: intentional violence with aggravating circumstances and intentional damage with aggravating circumstances. The men were finally given access to medical attention before being sent to CC1 prison.

The ten men are represented by lawyers from four organizations. They face up to 18 months of pre-trial detention and up to 5 years’ imprisonment as well as fines from $1,000 - $2,500.

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Flash News: Land Activist Yorm Bopha Released on Bail by Supreme Court
Published on November 22, 2013

After more than 14 months detention, Yorm Bopha was finally released from Police Judiciaire prison (PJ) at 5.45 this evening. Her much-anticipated Supreme Court hearing began this morning at 9.45 as more than 400 supporters, including monks and civil society, joined her family and community outside the courtroom. After a 2-hour hearing, the Supreme Court granted bail to Bopha pending her re-trial at the Appeal Court.

Clearly emotional to be reunited with her eight-year-old son, and expressing gratitude to her fellow community members for their unstinting support, Bopha headed to Boeung Kak surrounded by well-wishers to celebrate her release.

Get the details of today's release via our live stream.

Flash News: Government Censors Local Media in Lead-Up to Cambodian Elections
Published on June 28, 2013

The government has imposed shocking and expansive measures to censor Cambodia’s local news media ahead of July 28 elections, banning FM radio stations from rebroadcasting “foreignbased programs” in Khmer and from reporting on foreigners who are campaigning “to support or oppose” political parties or candidates.

The ban will stay in place through the July 28 National Assembly election day.

Flash News: Land Activist Bopha Files Appeal at Supreme Court
Published on June 18, 2013

Imprisoned Boeung Kak Lake land activist Yorm Bopha filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on June 17, 2013, in a bid to overturn or reduce her two-year prison sentence. She was convicted for her alleged involvement in a physical assault, but it is widely believed that the charges came in retaliation for her land rights activism.

Bopha was arrested in September 2012 and convicted of “intentional violence” in December; she was originally sentenced to three years imprisonment. The Court of Appeal suspended one year of her sentence on Friday, June 14, meaning she is scheduled for release in September 2014. Both Bopha’s original trial and her appeal were characterized by a stunning lack of evidence

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Flash News: Bopha appeal hearing begins; to be continued on June 14
Published on June 5, 2013

The appeal hearing of imprisoned Boeung Kak community member Yorm Bopha began today at approximately 2:45 p.m. in Phnom Penh, with hundreds of supporters gathering outside the court’s gates. An additional 30 to 40 members of a pro-government motodop association organized a counter-protest calling for Bopha to remain in prison. The counterprotest itself was not that vocal, but the group used piped-in crowd noise, channeled through a megaphone, in an attempt to drown out the chants of Bopha’s supporters. At least one of the motodop group told a human rights monitor he was paid 30,000 riels to protest.

Inside the court, approximately 40 people from local and international NGOs, foreign embassies, the United Nations, and media observed the hearing. Bopha and her husband both testified.

After three hours, the hearing was adjourned, to be continued on June 14 at 2 p.m.

Bopha was sentenced to three years in prison for allegedly assaulting a motodop. There is no evidence of her involvement in the case, and all signs point to her conviction being in retribution for her activism for the Boeung Kak lake land case. She has been designated a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.

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Flash News: Trial of Former Bavet Governor Chhouk Bandith Delayed
Published on May 21, 2013

Earlier today, former Bavet Governor Chhouk Bandith - accused of shooting three female factory workers during a factory strike last year - failed to appear to his trial in Svay Rieng province. Following a request by his lawyer, the Svay Rieng court agreed to delay the trial to June 12 in order to "respect the rights of the accused" and insure his presence at the trial. About 60 representatives from unions, NGOs and the united nations were present during today's proceedings.

Bandith has admitted to firing his gun, and a police witness saw him pointing the gun at the crowd. Despite this, Bandith remains a free man.

The new court date is June 12 at 8 a.m., also in Svay Rieng.

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Flash News: Mam Sonando's Appeal Concludes with Request for Change in Charges
Published on March 6, 2013

After a full day of testimony and arguments, the Prosecutor began his closing statement today by requesting that secession-related charges against Mam Sonando be changed. According to the Prosecutor, Sonando should be convicted of instigating the crimes of obstruction and interference with local officials, under articles 28, 504 and 609 of the Penal Code. The Prosecutor also asked to add a forestry crime -- the unlawful clearing of forest land -- under article 97.6 of the Forestry Law. The charges against the other two appellants, Touch Ream and Kann Sovann, remained the same. One witness's testimony was, however, abruptly halted when he repeatedly stated that he had mistakenly identified Sovann as being present at an incident that was the basis for the accusations against him. The witness stated that none of the three appellants had been at the incident in question.

The Appeals Court will announce its decision on March 14, 2013 at 8 am.

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Flash News: Another high profile case reaches Appeals Court; Mam Sonando’s hearing to continue tomorrow
Published on March 5, 2013

On the morning of March 5, 2013, the Appeals Court opened a hearing to review the verdict against independent radio owner Mam Sonando and two co-defendants, Touch Ream and Kan Sovann. The court was standing room only for the proceeding, with around 55 people, including numerous international observers, in attendance. The hearing follows the September 2012 trial in Phnom Penh’s lower court which resulted in a widely condemned 20-year-long prison sentence for 72-year-old Sonando. No evidence of Sonando’s involvement in an alleged “secession” in Kratie province was presented during the trial, nor was there any evidence that a secession movement even existed.

The hearing is expected to end tomorrow.

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Flash News: Appeals Court Cements Lesser Charge Against Bandith, Orders Trial
Published on March 4, 2013

This afternoon, the Appeals Court's Investigation Chamber charged ex-Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith with causing involuntary bodily harm under article 236 of the Penal Code, and sent the case file back to the Svay Rieng court for trial. The Appeals Court apparently did not consider a more serious accusation than the one originally submitted against Bandith to loud public outcry. This decision follows a two-day long closed hearing in which Bandith admitted to shooting his weapon during the worker's protest that resulted in serious gun shot injuries to three women, but denied knowing where the bullets went. A key witness who testified during the hearing, a commune police deputy chief, said that he believed Bandith was the shooter, as he saw Bandith pointing his handgun at workers seconds after the shooting. No evidence has been reported related to potential alternate shooters.

The Appeals Court did not order pre-trial detention for Bandith. The charge carries a prison sentence of six months to two years.

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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