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Kampong Speu villagers plan rally for jailed mother

More than 200 villagers from Kampong Speu province will gather at the provincial court today and refuse to leave unless their pleas to have a 49-year-old mother released from jail are heard, a community representative said yesterday.

Phal Vannak, a representative of Omlaing commune in Thpong district, said villagers will march along national road 4, release balloons and protest in front of the court in an attempt to secure the release of Chum Srey Noun, who was detained on December 15 after being summonsed for questioning.

“We would like to ask the court stop to issuing summonses to villagers in Omlaing – we have no option than to keep doing this if they do not follow our request,” he said.

The group, which is involved in a dispute relating to land awarded to the Phnom Penh Sugar Company, will also give their support to Hak Haing Kim, one of three men the court summonsed last month.

He will appear in court today over accusations he lied about owning disputed land after his co-accused, Sieng Hak, took the stand on January 31.

Villagers say the third man summonsed, Kin Gnet, died more than a year ago.

“We had planned to bring a coffin to the court, but we have cancelled it because police came to take back the court summons from Mr Kin Gnet’s family,” Phal Vannak said.

Rit Sophat, a fellow villager representative, said previous pleas to have Chum Srey Noun released had fallen on deaf ears.

This time, they will not accept no for an answer and will not leave until she is freed, he said.

“We have a plan of action, but we cannot reveal it all in advance.”    

Meanwhile, Suon Bunchhoun, a representative from Phnom Toch commune, said the provincial court had summonsed villagers they accused of intentionally using violence after their land was awarded to a private company last June.

Seven villagers and three police officers were injured during subsequent clashes.

“Police used violence on us. When police were injured, we helped them to get medical treatment. So why were we issued court summonses?” Suon Bunchhoun said.



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