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Group bashes seizure of legislator’s property

THE Cambodian Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has condemned last week’s clearing of a 3-hectare plot of land in Siem Reap province claimed by Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay, saying the move was “of dubious legality and amounts to an act of intimidation of the opposition parliamentarian”.

Last Thursday, more than 100 police, military police and demolition workers destroyed three homes while clearing the land, which Son Chhay has said he purchased in 1995.

Son Chhay has said that the Apsara Authority plans to turn the land over to Sok Kong’s Sokimex Group for a hotel development. Apsara Director General Bun Narith has said that the land falls in an Apsara conservation area and is slated for tourism development.

In a statement released Tuesday, the CCHR said that Son Chhay had not been sufficiently compensated for the land – the lawmaker has said that he received US$0.50 per square metre – and that a hotel development “serves no clear public interest as required by Article 5 of the Land Law and Articles 2 and 4 of the Expropriation Law”.

“Another disturbing feature of the land expropriation is the implicit intimidation of a SRP member through the courts of Cambodia,” the statement reads. It called the case one in a “series of incidents in which members of the SRP have been the victims of a judicial system subordinated to the Royal Government of Cambodia”.

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