Supporters of 13 imprisoned Boeung Kak women took to the capital’s streets yesterday to call for their release, but the absence of one protester spoke of the toll the ordeal is taking on the women’s children.
Por Sokunkanha, the 11-year-old daughter of Tol Sreypov, one of the women jailed after a three-hour trial on May 24, spent yesterday in a clinic being treated for laryngitis, which her father said she had been diagnosed with after joining several protests.
“Because she wanted to see her mother set free, she has often missed school to march through the streets with other kids seeking an intervention to get their mothers freed from prison,” Por Kundara said.
The 11-year-old had spent a lot of time crying since her mother was arrested during a protest at Boeung Kak on May 22, he said.
“I have no time to take my three kids to meet their mother, and my heart breaks when my daughter asks me why I let her mother get arrested,” Por Kundara said.
Despite her laryngitis, Por Sokunkanha still wanted her voice to be heard yesterday.
“My mother and other residents in my village have done nothing wrong; they just wanted to protect their land and their houses,” she said. “I hope the Appeal Court will release my mother and others.”
About 150 others gathered outside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh yesterday to make another call for intervention.
Villagers held pictures of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, who celebrated her birthday yesterday.
The 13 were charged with disputing authority and trespassing on land awarded to Shukaku, a company headed by CPP senator Lao Meng Khin.
The women were tried, convicted and sentenced without a lawyer or any witnesses.
Their appeal will be heard next Wednesday.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at firstname.lastname@example.org