Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Political’ arrests abound: org

‘Political’ arrests abound: org

Activists are arrested by authorities in Phnom Penh earlier this year
Activists are arrested by authorities in Phnom Penh earlier this year. A new report suggests more than 200 activists have been arrested so far this year. Vireak Mai

‘Political’ arrests abound: org

Two hundred politically motivated arrests have been made this year by state security forces, according to a local rights group.

Chan Soveth, senior investigator at Adhoc, said yesterday that so far in 2014 at least 200 activists and monks were detained or charged with an offence in what he called an attack on freedom of expression.

The detentions included 109 land rights activists, 34 of whom were jailed for varying periods of time; 62 factory workers and trade union activists, 41 of whom were jailed and later released on bail; and 26 opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party members.

Three monks were also recently arrested and remain in prison, he added.

“When the political situation is heated, land activists or opposition members are routinely arrested when they join protests with land dispute victims,” he said. “Their arrests and convictions are intended to apply political pressure, because the charges are not based on the law.”

Suon Bunsak, secretary general of the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, said human rights in Cambodia had taken a step backwards.

“The government’s moves affect the future of human rights in a terrible way,” he said. “Because the implementation of laws is unequal, impunity prevails in the Kingdom.”

Koul Panha, director of election monitor COMFREL, said in many of the cases there was no legal basis for the arrests or charges.

“For example, in the case of [CNRP member] Meach Sovannara . . . The court should not arrest him at all.”

Independent Monks Network member Keo Somaly decried the recent treatment of dissenting monks by the authorities.

“We see the authorities break the law, arrest monks forcefully and defrock them, beat them and throw monks into jail. But I am not terrified of the threats,” he said.

UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Surya Subedi said in a statement yesterday that it saddened him “to see the courts being used again and again as a tool of the executive”.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’