Serious human rights setbacks mark end of year

The Cambodian criminal justice system continues to silence voices that the authorities do not tolerate. Late December, a leading staff member at local human rights group ADHOC was charged for his work, while a grassroot activist was sentenced to three years in prison for her peaceful protest. An unexpected Appeals Court decision on the 2004 killing of union leader Chea Vichea, sent two innocent men to prison.

On 24 December during questioning in court, it emerged that Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association’s (ADHOC) leading investigator Chan Soveth faces criminal charges for his human rights work. He was not detained after questioning in court, but threats remain against him. Read more: Human Rights Defender Chan Soveth Not Detained After Questioning (ADHOC 24 December 2012)

Three days later, 27 December, human rights defender Yorm Bopha was found guilty of trumped up charges and sentenced to three years in prison for her peaceful housing rights activism. Yorm Bopha is one of the thirteen women who became known around the world through the campaign Free the 15 – Boeung Kak Lake. Read more: Legal persecution of land rights activists must end – Yorm Bopha should be released immediately and unconditionally (Free Yorm Bopha! 27 December 2012)

On the same day, 27 December 2012, the Appeals Court sentenced two men accused of killing the widely popular union leader Chea Vichea to 20 years in prison without any credible evidence against them. Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun are apparent scapegoats in the 2004 killing, yet they were found guilty of the crime, amid widespread outcry from human rights groups and the international community. In 2008, the Supreme Court released them and sent the case back to the Appeals Court, which decided to uphold its earlier sentence. Read more:Scapegoats Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun Unjustly Back in Jail (CLEC 27 December 2012)

Categories: News.
Tags: #FreeThe15BK, ADHOC, and Chan Soveth.
Regions: Cambodia.