Video: Persecution of Cambodian human rights defenders

This conversation between Ee Sarom and Brittis Edman followed a screening of the video Flowers of Freedom: The Campaign to Free the 15. We highly recommend that you watch that video before viewing this conversation!

In May, police arrested 15 human rights defenders in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. Within days, 13 of them had been convicted to each two and a half years in prison in an unfair trial. In the past several years, they have carried out peaceful protests against forced evictions and unlawful expropriation of land in the Boeung Kak area. Their imprisonment sparked a unique campaign: Free the 15.

Following an appeal court decision on 27 June, in Phnom Penh. The court decided to suspend the remaining prison sentences of the 13 women and announced they would be released from Prey Sar prison. The judges decided to uphold the verdict from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, claiming the women were still found guilty of “occupying state land and obstructing public officials in aggravating circumstances “. The women have already served one month and three days in prison

Ee Sarom at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), a housing rights NGO, was one of several civil society leaders supporting the community’s mobilisation for the release of the activists. Brittis Edman is Programme Director for Southeast Asia at Civil Rights Defenders. The event took place on 29 August 2012.

View Ee Sarom’s slideshow (power point presentation)

Civil Rights Defenders has earlier urged the Cambodian authorities to release the human rights defenders and drop all charges against them. The arrest and charges, for which the women were found guilty of, are a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Categories: Videos.
Tags: #FreeThe15BK, Freedom of assembly, Freedom of expression, and Violence against human rights defenders.
Regions: Cambodia and Sweden.