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

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Prime Minister: Take back islands from inactive developers

    The government will “take back” land on roughly 30 islands from private companies that have not made progress on planned developments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on Monday that also targeted land-grabbing villagers and idle provincial governors. Speaking at the inauguration of the

  • Land on capital’s riverfront is opened up for investment

    The government has signed off on a proposal to designate more than 9 hectares of land along Phnom Penh’s riverfront as state-private land, opening it up for private investment or long-term leasing. The 9.25-hectare stretch of riverfront from the capital’s Night Market to the