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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a