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Faces of the Boeung Kak 13

Faces of the Boeung Kak 13

The imprisonment of 13 women after a three-hour trial on May 24 made international headlines and drew condemnation from far and wide. But who are these 13 activists? Rights group Licadho, which recently published an online photo essay about the women, helps the Post find out.

Tep Vanny, 31, is perhaps the most high-profile of the Boeung Kak activists. The mother of two has been arrested before, but this was her first conviction. Village rival Ly Mom has accused her and others of threatening to kill her.  Her family has been granted a land title. She was ordered to serve all of the two-and-a-half-year sentence given to the women.

Cheng Leap is married with five children and is described as a “persuasive” speaker for the Boeung Kak cause. The 45-year-old, who has health problems, had not been arrested before, but was summonsed to court in April over Ly Mom’s accusations. Her five-year-old daughter witnessed her arrest. She received the full sentence.

Heng Mom, 41, has been excluded from the land title process and watched her house destroyed in 2011. Active in protests with her husband, Sok Tong Heng, she had been arrested once before and was summonsed over Ly Mom’s accusations. Sok Tong Heng is concerned about her physical and mental health. She received the full sentence.

Bov Sophea, 36, a housewife and mother of three, has lived at Boeung Kak since 1994 and regularly protested since 2007. Her family has been granted a land title, but she has been a vocal supporter of those who have not. Despite having no prior convictions, her sentence was not suspended. Her family says she requires daily medication for health problems.

Ngoun Kimlang is a 54-year-old street vendor who has been at Boeung Kak since 1979. She lives with six others and has been granted a land title.The May 22 demon­stration was the first time she had been arrested, possibly contributing to the suspension of six months of her sentence. Her family says she suffers from high blood pressure and has difficulty walking.

Nget Khun, 72, is the oldest of the imprisoned protesters. A grandmother of three and mother of seven, she requires daily medication for health problems. Prior to her arrest, Nget Khun was the main caregiver for her 85-year-old husband. The couple has been told they will not receive a land title. Eighteen months of her sentence was suspended.

Phan Chhunreth, 54, was arrested for the first time on May 22, but received the full sentence when tried two days later. She is the mother of five and grandmother of three. Her family has been excluded from the land title process and she also requires daily medication for health problems. She lives in village 22 and is a housewife.

Tol Srey Pov, 35, is a mother of three who has been a prominent activist at Boeung Kak. She had been arrested twice before, but detained for no more than a day. She received the full sentence, inspiring her 11-year-old daughter to be active in protests. She was also summonsed to court as part of the group accused of threatening to kill Ly Mom.

Kong Chantha is a 41-year-old resident of village 24 who is fighting two land battles – her family also owns land in Preah Vihear province that has been the subject of dispute. A mother of four, Kong Chantha has lived at Boeung Kak since 2000. She has been arrested four times. Her sentence was not suspended.

Soung Samai, 53, is a widow who has lived in Boeung Kak since 1993. She had been arrested twice before, but not convicted. Since her arrest, her eldest son, 26, has been the family’s main breadwinner; however, added responsibilities have meant he is working less. Soung Samai also has health problems. Six months of her sentence was suspended.

Song Srey Leap is the youngest and least known of the women. The 24-year-old had kept a low profile at previous protests and was arrested as she walked across the sand dunes to go home. The village 22 resident pays her brother’s university fees. Six months of her sentence was suspended.

Chan Navy, 57, has lived at Boeung Kak for more than two decades. She had been a regular protester, but had not been arrested before. With her partner, she cares for six children. Her family is concerned her health problems are getting worse. Six months of her sentence has been suspended.

Tho Davy is a 25-year-old mother of two who has attended protests for three years. She had lived at Boeung Kak since 1994. A waitress, she is her family’s main breadwinner and her mother said she looked “pale” during a prison visit. Six months of her sentence has been suspended.


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