Cambodia: two land rights defenders previously fined are now arrested, questioned (Update)Event
- Initial Date
- Aug 27, 2021
- Event Description
Two Svay Rieng land dispute representatives, previously fined $1,000 each under Covid-19 regulations for gathering people to rally, have now been charged for obstructing the enforcement of health measures and face up to three years in jail, according to a rights group.
En Soth and Yous Sophorn, representing families seeking compensation for land the Water Resources Ministry wants to turn into a reservoir, were summoned by provincial police on Friday and detained overnight, according to Soth’s husband, Mom Kosal.
They were then sent to the provincial court for questioning on Saturday, Kosal said.
Licadho spokesperson Am Sam Ath said they had since been charged under articles 10 and 11 of the Covid-19 Law. Infringement of administrative measures can be fined up to 5 million riel, or about $1,250, and obstruction of enforcement up to 10 million riel, or close to $2,500, and punished by up to three years in jail.
“This is a threat against the community for protesting, and secondly this move impacts other communities from protesting. If they dare to protest, they could face the same charges,” Sam Ath said.
Earlier this month, Soth and Sophorn were fined $1,000 each for posting photos of protesters holding up banners, as authorities deemed the rally a violation of Covid-19 measures.
Kosal, Soth’s husband, said the deadline for paying the fine was Monday, and Soth had planned to hand over the money on Saturday.
Provincial police chief Koeng Khorn would only say that the two land disputants had committed wrongdoing and police had taken action. “If you know, why do you keep asking?” Khorn said when asked about the case.
Provincial court spokespeople could not be reached on Monday about the land dispute, in Svay Chrum district’s Chhoeuteal commune.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Community-based HRD
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 27 August 2021, En Soth and Yous Sophorn, community-based defenders, were summoned and arrested by the police for leading a land dispute protest and later questioned by the provincial court in Svay Rieng, Cambodia.