A man whose wife was arrested last week for allegedly clearing forest land in Stung Treng province’s Thala Barivat district has appealed to rights group Adhoc for help, claiming his wife was innocent.
Sun Sary, 46, said his wife, 34-year-old Lim Leang Y, had bought the two-hectare plot in 2008 and had documents to prove it.
According to Sary, Leang Y was clearing the land with seven other villagers when they were arrested by forestry officials. The others – who were hired to clear the land – have since been released.
Leang Y is still being detained pending her trial.
Sary said, “It’s unjust for my family, because thousands of villagers work like us.”
Y Ek Savtey, director of the provincial forestry administration, said Leang Y’s documents had no clout, as the plot was on “forest land”.
Ho Sam Ol, the Adhoc provincial monitor, said the authorities should stop arresting only the ‘‘poor and less powerful’’.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at firstname.lastname@example.org