An anti-eviction activist in Poipet, detained on Monday for leading a peaceful protest against his community’s impending removal from land allocated for a railway, was charged with incitement yesterday by the Banteay Meachey Provincial Court, a rights observer said.
After being charged, Chheng Bun Hak, 37, was released but placed under court supervision, said Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc.
Bun Hak on Monday led one of a series of protests against government plans to construct roads in preparation for the railway development.
The protesters marched peacefully through Poipet’s streets for the 12th time in recent months, but drew the ire of the authorities by decapitating an effigy created to represent a corrupt politician and dragging it behind them.
Chankea was also detained and questioned yesterday, causing Adhoc to label the incident an attack on freedom of expression by provincial prosecutor Phan Vanroath.
“It is a threat to human rights that the courts are being used to abuse procedures,” a statement released by the group reads.
Ny Chakrya, Adhoc’s director of investigations, said that Chankea was released yesterday evening after he was questioned.
Vorn Vann, 36, a protester, said 77 demonstrators had signed a petition calling for Bun Hak’s release and handed it to the court.
Vanroath could not be reached for comment.