Human rights group Adhoc has demanded the release of a couple and their 9-month-old child jailed amid a land dispute in Preah Vihear, calling their arrest a “grave human rights abuse”.
Lim Sokhim, 45 and her husband Sorn Vuthy, 46, were detained on Tuesday along with their baby after protesting against the seizure of their property in Chheb district’s M’lou Prey 1 commune.
The provincial forestry administration – which plans to build a road on the site – has filed a complaint charging the family with grabbing state land illegally.
“This situation is pitiful, especially for the innocent little baby girl,” a statement yesterday by Adhoc read. “She is always crying for food, her mother is sick and unable to breastfeed her.”
Fifty villagers protested yesterday to demand the family’s release.
According to Adhoc – which has called on the Justice Ministry to investigate – “corrupt” authorities have targeted the community while exempting local officials who were able to buy their land titles for between $600 and $800.
However, M’lou Prey commune chief Heng Phuon denied this was the case.
Provincial court president Tieng Sotha has previously said he was forced to take legal action against the couple, claiming they refused to discuss the matter.