Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deported activist Gonzalez-Davidson ‘charged’

Deported activist Gonzalez-Davidson ‘charged’

Activist Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson is escorted out of a riverside restaurant by authorities last year in Phnom Penh. Mony Sar
Activist Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson is escorted out of a riverside restaurant by authorities last year in Phnom Penh. Mony Sar

Deported activist Gonzalez-Davidson ‘charged’

Environmental activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson, deported by immigration officials nearly a year ago, has been charged by the Koh Kong Provincial Court along with two co-founders of his NGO Mother Nature, according to the wife of one of the group’s three detained activists.

Tha Sophea, wife of jailed activist Sem Samnang, said yesterday that when she visited her husband at the provincial prison on January 30, he told her that Davidson along with monks Sok Chantra and Prom Dhammajat have been charged by the court as accomplices to the same alleged crime that resulted in the original arrests.

Try Sovikea, Sun Mala and Lem Samnang were arrested in August over their anti-sand dredging activities and charged with threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage and ordering others to do so. They were denied bail in September.

“According to my husband, the court charged [Davidson, Chantra and Dhammajat] of being accomplices; they said that my husband’s protest was backed by those … people,” Sophea said.

Asked to verify whether Davidson and the two monks have been charged, Koh Kong Provincial Court director Huon Many, insisted he didn’t know, telling reporters to “ask the prosecutor since the warrant has not reached me yet”.

But he then went on to hint at the basis of any potential charges. “If there is an additional charge, it will be laid on the [financial] backers, since the investigation showed that there are people who provided the money,” he said, referencing the investigation against the already detained activists.

"It's time for me to return": Read Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson's letter to the editor

The provincial court director today confirmed that the investigation has wrapped, though a trial date has not been set.

Prosecutor Bu Bunheang declined to comment while investigating judge Chhun Davy could not be reached.

Am Sam Ath, technical coordinator for rights group Licadho and defence counsel for the detained Mother Nature activists, said yesterday that his team was pushing for the court to publicly confirm the charges.

Speaking yesterday, Davidson – who was deported last February 23 – characterised the actions by the court as “illogical” given that he is currently barred from entering the country and unable to appear in court.

“It’s denying my right to a fair trial,” he said, adding “I’m not going to lie and say I’m not afraid of going to jail.”

Meanwhile, opposition lawmaker Son Chhay, in a letter signed off on by National Assembly President Heng Samrin yesterday, requested that the Ministry of Mines and Energy disclose environmental impact assessments as well as government revenue from the sand-dredging operations in Koh Kong province at the centre of the Mother Nature case.

Additional reporting by Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and