Cambodia: Environmentalist found guilty of incitement (Update)Event
- Initial Date
- May 5, 2021
- Event Description
Three Mother Nature environmentalists were sentenced to jail for 18 to 20 months for incitement over their activism, while two others, including the group’s founder, were also found guilty in absentia.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court announced the verdict on Wednesday morning in a courtroom newly equipped with transparent screens and other Covid-19 preventative measures. Judge Li Sokha, wearing a mask, read out the verdict as the three defendants, Phuon Keoreaksmey, Long Kunthea and Thun Ratha, stood up holding hands.
Sokha said that based on the evidence, witnesses and the answers of the defendants, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court concluded that the three were guilty of incitement.
Ratha was handed 20 months in jail and a fine of 4 million riel, or about $1,000, for incitement to disturb social security. Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, the group’s co-founder who has been deported from Cambodia, was given the same sentence for being an accomplice.
Keoreaksmey, Kunthea and another activist tried in absentia, Chea Kunthin, were given 18 months and the same 4 million riel fine.
The court also issued arrest warrants against Gonzalez-Davidson and Kunthin and ordered the confiscation of materials belonging to them.
Ratha said aloud to reporters as he departed the courtroom: “This is very unjust. Sentencing people who just care about nature … they are very eager for trials.”
“The Khmer court is like this. Please tell people that we are still strong,” he said.
Defense lawyer Sam Chamroeun said he would discuss the verdict and a possible appeal with his clients.
Kunthea, Ratha and Keokeaksmey were arrested in September while planning a one-woman march by Kunthea to raise awareness about the infilling of Boeng Tamok, one of Phnom Penh’s last lakes.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Environmental rights defender
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On May 5, 2021, Phuon Keoreaksmey, Long Kunthea and Thun Ratha, detained youth environmentalists associated with Mother Nature Cambodia network, were sentenced to jail and fined as result of their advocacy work on environment by the Municipal Court of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.