Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court rejects activists’ appeal to reopen case

Court rejects activists’ appeal to reopen case

Nget Khun and fellow Boeung Kak activists stand outside the Appeal Court, which on Wednesday rejected a plea to reopen an investigation into a 2013 attack on a peace vigil.
Nget Khun and fellow Boeung Kak activists stand outside the Appeal Court, which on Wednesday rejected a plea to reopen an investigation into a 2013 attack on a peace vigil. Pha Lina

Court rejects activists’ appeal to reopen case

The Appeal Court has rejected a plea from two Boeung Kak activists to restart an investigation into a nighttime attack on lake residents, journalists and others in 2013 at Phnom Penh’s Wat Phnom by thugs and plainclothes police officials.

Amid rising tensions following the disputed 2013 elections, land activists from the Boueng Kak and Borei Keila communities were attacked by a group of men wearing masks and armed with slingshots, batons and cattle prods during a candlelight vigil in September of 2013, with 11 activists and a rights monitor requiring medical attention after the fray. Several others, including reporters covering the rally, received minor injuries.

The two activists and plaintiffs in the case – Nget Khun and Phan Chhunret – were challenging the procedures used by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to drop the investigation in 2017. The activists had filed a court complaint in 2013.

But presiding Judge Thou Mony rejected their appeal, with Khun saying the judge upheld the Phnom Penh Court’s decision to drop the case.

“The criminal chamber of the Appeal Court ruled to uphold the verdict of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court because the court finds that the complaint of the plaintiff failed to clearly state the identity of the defendants,” she said, relaying the words of the judge.

She carried along with her photos of the alleged attackers and one of an injury she received on her chest from a slingshot, but the three-judge panel found the evidence insufficient.

“The court always decides that poor people lose and the rich or government officials always win. This is injustice for us,” she said.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court had provisionally charged unnamed individuals for intentional violence and had questioned some of the lake residents and Daun Penh officials, but an investigating judge dropped the charges.

The Boeung Kak lawsuit also named four Daun Penh district officials, whom they claimed were at the crackdown. They were then-Deputy District Governor Sok Penhvuth, Director of Public Order Kim Vutha, district council official Sok Cheata and Deputy District Police Chief Sao Nol.

The crackdown began around 10pm when the protesters were clearing up the area where they had demonstrated, spelling out the word “justice” with candles.

As they left the area, according to witnesses, police and a group of young men began shooting marbles into the group with slingshots, beating people and electrocuting others.

MOST VIEWED

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges