Sixty civil society groups issued a joint statement yesterday demanding the release of two Boeung Kak lake activists who were arrested and charged with incitement this week following a Black Monday protest.
Black Monday is a weekly protest calling for the release of four jailed Adhoc staffers and one National Election Committee official in a case that is widely seen as politically motivated.
“The charges, brought after a peaceful gathering, represent an egregious violation of freedom of expression and assembly and mark yet another step in the Cambodian government’s campaign of intimidation against citizens expressing any form of dissent,” the statement read.
Among the signatories were prominent NGOs, labour unions and human rights groups, including the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights and Licadho.
Naly Pilorge, Licadho’s deputy director, said the case against the two activists was “farcical” and described the charges as “baseless”.
The statement also noted that the two women were sent to trial without judicial investigation procedures which, it said, violated their fair trial rights.
It said this marked the 36th arrest of protesters since May but the first time they had been charged.