Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Activists at court

Activists at court

Mother Nature co-founder San Mala (left) talks during a forum in Phnom Penh before he was arrested in Koh Kong on Monday.
Mother Nature co-founder San Mala (left) talks during a forum in Phnom Penh before he was arrested in Koh Kong on Monday. Vireak Mai

Activists at court

Three environmental activists imprisoned on Monday over their involvement in protests against a company accused of illegally dredging in a Koh Kong province estuary will be questioned today at the provincial court, according to a local rights group.

San Mala, Try Sovikea and Sim Somnang – all activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature – met with their attorneys yesterday to discuss their case.

All three men were charged on Monday with “threats to destroy followed by an order”, which carries a maximum prison sentence of two years.

Am Sam Ath, a senior investigator with local rights group Licadho, which has provided legal representation to the group, said the “attorneys will go with them [today] to answer questions at the court”.

Yin Sovinchenda, spokesman of Koh Kong Provincial Hall, issued a statement yesterday explaining that the suspects had been arrested because of protests against Vietnamese company Direct Access, which he alleged involved boarding sand dredgers.

Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, co-founder of Mother Nature, said the group had heard from a “reliable source” that more activists would be arrested.

While Dith Tina, spokesman of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), maintained yesterday that the company was operating legally, Gonzalez-Davidson said protests would continue.

“If the MME and relevant authorities do not do their job, we as activists cannot just close our eyes and see this happen.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • EU officials: Ending EBA an 18-month procedure

    EU officials have confirmed that it will take a total of 18 months to complete the procedure if Cambodia’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) trade agreement is to be withdrawn. According to EU Agriculture and Rural Development spokesman Daniel Rosario, the formal process has not

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • IPU slams government claim

    The president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Gabriela Cuevas Barron, has refuted a claim by the National Assembly that she “highly appreciated the achievements of Cambodia” in its July national elections with a tweet saying “Of course not!” before adding “No congratulations”. A delegation from