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Boeung Kak activist rushed to hospital

Demonstrators hold signs with images of jailed activists
Demonstrators hold signs with images of jailed activists during Human Rights Day earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Vireak Mai

Boeung Kak activist rushed to hospital

An imprisoned Boeung Kak land-rights activist was yesterday rushed to hospital suffering from heart problems, a rights worker said.

It came amid renewed calls for authorities to release a group of Boeung Kak activists imprisoned last month, some of whom have been staging a hunger strike in Prey Sar prison.

Phan Chhunreth was taken to Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital where doctors found her heart was beating unusually slow, making it hard for her to breathe, said Am Sam Ath, technical adviser for rights group Licadho.

“She is very weak . . . she should be allowed to stay in hospital for follow-up checks. We are worried about her condition and the women on hunger strike in Prey Sar,” adding that Chhunreth herself has not been part of the hunger strike.

A Post reporter observed three prison guards deny Chhunreth’s family members the chance to see her in hospital yesterday. She was later taken back to prison.

Chhunreth and six other women from Boeung Kak were arrested on November 10 and swiftly sentenced to one year in prison. They were charged under the traffic law for blocking a road during a protest over flooding in their village.

Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers have urged the president of the Court of Appeal, You Bunleng, to free the activists.

In a letter obtained on Sunday, the lawmakers say no traffic congestion occurred during the protest and City Hall officials failed to meet villagers over their flooding woes. “We . . . would like [the president] to drop charges against the 10 women and release them so they can return to their homes to . . . [take] care of their families,” the letter says, referring to additional arrests that were made in connection with Chhunreth’s case.

The Post reported on Saturday that Singaporean company HLH Group has cancelled plans to buy 1.3 hectares of land at Boeung Kak. CNRP president Sam Rainsy yesterday welcomed HLH’s decision.

“I also appeal to all legitimate companies around the world to avoid engaging in any way in this Boeung Kak development project as long as all victims of land confiscation associated with this ill-conceived and environmentally destructive project have not been properly and fairly compensated yet,” he said on Facebook.

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