Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court releases forest activists accused of trespassing

Court releases forest activists accused of trespassing

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
People Protesting to free forestry activists that were arrested at Kratie Province. Photo supplied

Court releases forest activists accused of trespassing

The Kratie provincial court on Monday released four forest activists after protesters outside the court demanded their release.

Activist Ouch Leng and three members of the Prey Lang forest community – Khem Sokhy, Srey Thei and Mein Math – were arrested on Friday after Think Biotech (Cambodia) Co Ltd accused them of entering its premises without permission.

Heng Sros, also a forest activist, welcomed the decision.

“This is the right decision, but I also regret that they were detained for three days without any evidence in the first place.

“This shows that what the police want is to break the spirit of forest activists so that people don’t dare to fight for the forest,” he said.

Sros spoke to The Post as he held a sign that read: “Loggers are allowed to walk free but those that protect the forest are arrested.” The sign showed images of the four activists released on Monday.

“The investigative judge and the Kratie provincial prosecutor decided to free the activists but the court has placed them under supervision,” Sros noted.

Neither Kratie provincial court spokesman Tiv Vuth Then nor provincial court deputy prosecutor Chea Sopheak could be reached for comment on Monday.

Leng, a well-known activist and recipient of the Goldman Prize, is also the president of the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force.

Sros said the four activists were arrested during a forest patrol. They went to a store located on the company’s property to buy water when company security guards arrested them, using violence against at least one of them.

Rights group Adhoc spokesman Soeng Sen Karuna said on Monday that the court is now investigating the guard who used violence against the activist.

Neither Think Biotech director Lu Chu Chang nor company representative Lach Phanno could be reached for comment on Monday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a