Prominent Boeung Kak community member Tep Vanny and two other jailed activists appealed their six-month convictions for allegedly insulting and obstructing public officials during a 2011 protest, and asked for all charges to be dropped before the Supreme Court on Friday.
Four were sentenced by Phnom Penh Municipal Court last September. One of the activists, Heng Mom, was not present in the courtroom yesterday.
In the courtroom, Vanny, Bo Chhorvy and Kong Chantha again denied accusations that they had instigated violence against the Daun Penh district security forces during a protest at City Hall against forced evictions at Boeung Kak.
“We just filed a petition to [the] Municipal Hall regarding the Boeun Kak land dispute,” Vanny said. “We followed the law and it is unfair on us.”
Prosecutor Chan Dararaksmey asked the court to reject the appeal, citing “clear evidence” of guilt.
He added that the 30 to 40 protesters had screamed, caused a traffic jam and assaulted security forces – causing bleeding from scratches and using both high heels and stones as weapons. Witnesses and the accused have repeatedly denied the official account.
Vanny was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in February on separate charges related to a 2013 protest and is currently behind bars. The three co-accused are currently out on bail, pending appeals. The Supreme Court’s verdict is expected on December 8.