The case of the 13 imprisoned Boeung Kak women is in the hands of the Appeal Court now, the women’s defence lawyer said yesterday.
Lawyer Harm Sunrith said that Phnom Penh Municipal Court had sent the case to the Appeal Court on Tuesday, adding that he was inquiring into who the presiding judge would be.
“We will send the paper requesting that the 13 clients be freed as soon as we know who the presiding judge is,” he said.
The 13 women were arrested during a demonstration on May 22 and sentenced to between one and two-and-a-half years in Prey Sar prison after a three-hour trial two days later. Two other villagers were also arrested at the trial.
A letter from the Ministry of Justice, dated May 31, had ordered the municipal court to re-examine the sentencing.
Six of the prisoners continued their hunger strike yesterday, which began on Sunday, and were in frail health, said a villager who had visited the group.
Villager representative Bou Chhorvy said prison guards had allowed her to meet with Tep Vanny, Kong Chantha and Phan Chhunreth yesterday.
An 11-year-old girl had also been allowed to meet her mother, Tol Srey Pov, and two other prisoners, she added.
“They are much paler and weaker than before, but they would not stop their hunger strike, even though I tried to beg them to stop,” she said.
Meanwhile, about 50 villagers brought petitions to the US and European Union embassies yesterday asking for their intervention to free the prisoners.
EU Ambassador Jean-Francois Cautain personally accepted the petition and promised to appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the matter, Bou Chhorvy said.
Embassy officials confirmed they had received the petition, with EU representatives saying they would forward it to the relevant Cambodian authorities.
US Embassy spokesperson Sean McIntosh said the US was “concerned” by the sentencing.
“This trial was marked by serious irregularities, such as the defendants being taken to court without having been charged and being tried in three hours without lawyers or witness testimony,” he said by email.
To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at firstname.lastname@example.org