Topic: Expression and AssemblyBriefing Paper: The Mam Sonando Case Explained
Published on August 30, 2012; On July 15, 2012, independent Beehive Radio station owner and director Mam Sonando was arrested on suspicion of leading an "insurrectionary movement" in Kratie province. A trial is scheduled for Sept. 11. He faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of all charges.
This paper is summarizes the case and concludes that the charges against Sonando are unjustified and an attempt to suppress free speech. In the continuing absence of credible evidence, Sonando should be released immediately, and the charges against him should be dropped unconditionally.
Published on August 15, 2012; We, the undersigned civil society groups, deeply regret the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to pursue politically-motivated charges against outspoken human rights worker Chan Soveth for legitimate actions related to his work.
Published on July 16, 2012; The undersigned organizations are deeply disturbed by independent radio station director Mam Sonando's arrest on Sunday, July 15, 2012, and call for his immediate release. Mr. Sonando, who holds both Cambodian and French citizenship, is the owner of Beehive Radio, which is among the few independent radio stations in Cambodia. Sonando is also the founder and president of the Democrat Association.
Published on July 11, 2012; Rong Panha of the Cambodian Alliance of Trade Unions (CATU) was beaten in front of Wat Botum after a group of 20 CATU workers had marched from Phnom Penh's Freedom Park to a public park nearby the Prime Minister's home to present a petition to his cabinet. The workers are employed by Tai Yang Enterprises, which supplies international clothing giants Levi Strauss, Gap and Old Navy, among others.
Published on July 11, 2012; We, the undersigned organizations, condemn the authorities' vicious and unprovoked beating of a union activist today in Phnom Penh, which came after trade union workers peacefully presented a petition to the Prime Minister.
Published on June 27, 2012; We, the above organizations, welcome the release today of the 13 jailed Boeung Kak (BK) representatives but strongly condemn police violence against BK residents trying to reach the appeal court and regret that the convictions against the 13 were upheld despite the government's failure, again, to present any evidence of the alleged crimes.
Published on May 31, 2012; On May 31, the children and grandchildren of "the Boeung Kak 15" - former residents of the Boeung Kak Lake community who have been jailed following a land dispute - gathered outside the Ministry of Justice to sing songs in support of their relatives.
Published on May 30, 2012; We, Cambodian and International civil society organizations represented in this statement, condemn the use of armed force and escalating violence against citizens peacefully defending their land, labor and natural resources rights. We are referring to not only the events earlier last week on 22nd May, when dozens of peaceful Boeung Kak Lake (BKL) protesters were violently dispersed and two days later when fifteen (fourteen women and one male) BKL residents were sent to Prey Sar prison and charged and convicted of unfounded criminal offenses, but also the recent shooting incidents-the killings of environmental activist Chut Wutty in Koh Kong province and 14-year old girl Heng Chantha in Kratie province, and the shooting of three young women protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province. These incidents are particularly disturbing because they indicate an increasing readiness on the part of security and military forces to use lethal force against civilians.
Published on May 24, 2012; Venerable Loun Sovath was forcibly taken away by religious authorities while the monk was supporting a peaceful gathering of Boeung Kak lake villagers in front of the Phnom Penh court. Venerable Sovath was driven to Wat Botum, where he was questioned over his activism by religious leaders.
The group had gathered to support 13 lake representatives who - hours after the monk's removal - were unjustly given prison sentences of 2 and a half years each, some suspended.
Published on May 22, 2012; Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Equitable Cambodia, Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) and Licadho Canada condemn the unjustified and violent response to a peaceful demonstration by Boeung Kak residents and call for the immediate release of the 13 detained women.
Published on May 22, 2012; Some 18 displaced families from the Boeung Kak area arrived at the sand-filled lake accompanied by fellow residents. One family tried to erect wooden poles. Police arrived almost immediately, confiscating the residents' tools and preventing them from going forward.
Unable to continue with their original plan, the Boeung Kak residents staged a peaceful demonstration, complete with singing and speeches. Shortly before noon, when only a small group of women were still singing, mixed forces moved in and began pushing the singers, provoking a confrontation. The group dispersed, but 13 of the women -- including a 72-year-old women pictured in this video -- were chased down by the authorities and arrested.
Published on February 21, 2012; After years of blatant impunity for similar crimes, the latest shooting of three young women while protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province comes as little surprise. Gun violence directed at unarmed protestors has been on the rise recently throughout Cambodia.
"This latest shooting appears to be a clear-cut case of attempted murder," said Am Sam Ath, from LICADHO. "Reports indicate that the gunman shot directly at the protesting workers. There can be no question that such actions constitute premeditation and an intent to kill under the Penal Code."
Published on January 21, 2012; On January 18, 2012, military personnel acting as security guards for TTY Co. Ltd opened fire on a group of villagers who had gathered to prevent clearing of their farmland by company's excavators in Kratie's Snuol district.
Four villagers were injured by bullets. None of the authorities present during the shooting proceeded to arrest the perpetrators.
Published on January 12, 2012; We, the ten undersigned civil society organizations, call for the immediate release of Borei Keila residents detained yesterday and since unlawfully detained at the Prey Speu Social Affairs Center. We also call for the permanent closure of the Prey Speu center, which has been proven time and again to be nothing more than an extra-judicial detention facility.
Published on December 22, 2011; Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia's national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today. Any revisions should involve meaningful consultation with civil society organizations and aim to support their activities instead of creating a legal framework allowing for arbitrary closure of organizations or the denial of registration.