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Family evicted after ‘death threats’

An ethnic Jarai family has been evicted from their Ratanakirri province village where they say they received death threats over a land dispute.

This is the third time the family has abandoned their home after they filed a lawsuit against three commune authorities in 2011, alleging they illegally sold 480 hectares of community forest.

“They threatened to execute us if we did not leave. For safety, my family got out of the village,” Romas Svang, 47, said.

Svang said commune chief Rocham Ven and his officers forced the family of nine out of the village by gathering the community for two meetings and collecting thumbprints of those who wanted the family to leave.
The commune chief declined to comment.

Svang claims the villagers sought revenge for the legal trouble and discriminated against the Christian, CNRP-supporting family.

Chhay Thy, coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the three village officials accused of threatening and intimidating the family – including the former commune chief, the previous commune police chief and the commune clerk – will soon face a hearing.

O’Yadav district governor Dak Sor said villagers collected thumbprints to dismiss the family, but no one threatened murder. “Our villagers did not like him because he sued this person and that person. Such complaining is wrong,” Dak Sor said.

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