Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists to be questioned in meddling suit

Activists to be questioned in meddling suit

Activists to be questioned in meddling suit

Ten land activists are set to be questioned today by Preah Vihear provincial court over their involvement in halting the drilling of a well in a community forest in November last year, rights monitors said yesterday.

Lor Chhan, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, told the Post the activists were summoned by deputy prosecutor Long Sina for “interfering in public affairs”, and only learned about the lawsuit against them yesterday.

“More than 100 villagers stopped machinery from digging a well on communal land, but the court only called the 10 most prominent land activists who usually protest for justice,” he said yesterday, adding that the director of Boeng Per Wildlife Sanctuary, Koung Sambat, had filed a lawsuit and that the machinery being used on November 30 was owned by tycoon Try Pheap’s company, Try Pheap Import Export.

Deputy chief of Rovieng district Long Sitha disputed Chhan’s claim yesterday, saying that District Governor E Sarou had filed the complaint against the activists.

But according to Chhan, the villagers only received the summons and news of the lawsuit yesterday afternoon, leaving them only a day to prepare ahead of the questioning. The group has sought Adhoc’s assistance in providing lawyers and filing a request for the questioning to be pushed back to February 7.

Meas Kimyoeurn, 59, one of the 10 people being called in for questioning, said that villagers stopped the well from being dug on communally owned land on November 30, after which administrative staff from Pheap’s company arrived, along with authorities and Sambat, who helped mediate the dispute non-violently.

“We just protested against building the well on our land, because we are afraid of losing the land, but now they launched a lawsuit against us,” she said, adding that villagers received the summons on January 13, leaving them only a day to appear before the court.

Sarou and Hun Rattana, an administrative staffer employed by Try Pheap Import Export declined to comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Report: Cambodia’s internet freedom slipping

    Althought still ranked “Partly Free”, internet freedom in Cambodia is slipping, says a report by Freedom House, a US-based democracy, political freedom and human rights watchdog. But the deputy secretary of the Ministry of Justice said the report “did not reflect the truth”. The report

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Kem Sokha off the menu as Smith talks judicial independence

    The UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia, Rhona Smith, on Tuesday, focused on “judicial independence” at a meeting with Ministry of Justice officials. Both Smith and ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the former opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (