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New trial set for Boeung Kak activist

Boeung Kak activist Yorm Bopha leaves the Appeal Court after a hearing about a 2013 assault case.
Boeung Kak activist Yorm Bopha leaves the Appeal Court after a hearing about a 2013 assault case. Heng Chivoan

New trial set for Boeung Kak activist

Appeal Court prosecutor Nget Sarath has summoned the lawyer of well-known Boeung Kak land activist Yorm Bopha to appear on June 20 to defend her in a retrial of accusations that she ordered an assault on two motodops in 2012.

The lawyer, Chan Socheat – who also represents Bopha’s ex-husband Lous Sakhorn, who received a three-year suspended sentence for the alleged beatings – confirmed that he had received the letter and would appear to contest the charges of intentional violence.

“I will go to the hearing to defend my clients, but I am not sure if both of them, my clients, [Bopha and Sakhorn] will come or not. Until now they have not received a summons from the Appeal Court,” Socheat said, adding that he would present the same evidence as in previous hearings.

Bopha was arrested in September 2012 after she was accused of ordering her two brothers to beat two motodops at Boeung Kak with an axe and a screwdriver. In December, she was sentenced to three years in prison.

Her sentence was effectively reduced by a year upon her appeal in June of 2013, with one of the judges maintaining that the victims’ testimony did not match their previous statements.

In November of 2013 the Supreme Court ordered Bopha’s release on bail, ruling that her case should be sent back to the Court of Appeal for further investigation and a retrial. Amnesty International had maintained at the time that Bopha’s prosecution was baseless, and a product of her land activism.

E Sophors, the president of the motodop and tuk-tuk association to which the alleged victims belong who has long maintained Bopha’s guilt, said he had received no word of the retrial.

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