Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mother Nature activists file appeal

Mother Nature activists file appeal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Dim Kundy (left) and Hun Vannak, former Mother Nature activists, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. FACEBOOK

Mother Nature activists file appeal

Two activists from the conservation group Mother Nature, Hun Vanak and Dem Kundy, have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court after their one-year prison sentences for “incitement to commit a felony” were upheld last month.

The Appeal Court on August 26 upheld their one-year jail terms, with seven months suspended, as handed down by the Koh Kong Provincial Court in January last year. They were also each fined one million riel ($250).

Sam Chamroeun, the lawyer for the two men, told The Post on Tuesday that having discussed the matter with his clients, he had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on Friday due to the evidence and their demands.

His clients considered the Appeal Court’s ruling unfair, he said.

He said Vanak and Kundy were innocent of the charges brought against them by the provincial court.

“Our case remains the same because my clients are innocent. We will push the Supreme Court for legal procedures to be instituted quickly,” Chamroeun stressed.

Vanak told The Post on Tuesday that despite not holding much hope, he was continuing to seek justice at the Supreme Court.

If the Supreme Court were to rule fairly, the charges against them would be dropped, he said.

“We demand that the Supreme Court find justice for us. We do not accept the ruling of the provincial court. I ask the Supreme Court to speed up procedures and resolve this matter soon,” Vanak said.

The men were arrested in September 2017 for photographing boats they suspected were carrying silica sand off the coast of a special economic zone in Kiri Sakor district’s Prek Khsach commune belonging to ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat, who holds the honorific “oknha”.

The original complaint against them was filed by the chief of staff of Yong Phat’s LYP Group, Chan Nakry.

They were placed in custody on September 11, 2017, after being charged with “incitement to commit a felony” and making unauthorised recordings of a person “in a private place”.

The case against Mother Nature co-founder Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, who had been charged with being an accomplice in “threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage” and inciting others to do the same, was dropped on August 22.

Vanak said being found guilty of the “unreasonable and factually incorrect” charges had affected his daily life, especially his activism work.

“Our ability to protect natural resources has been reduced. We cannot carry out activities as before because we are under court supervision. I have had to find other work to help support my family,” Vanak said.

Supreme Court spokesman Nov Mony Choat said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court was yet to receive the case.

“We have to follow procedure. Though an appeal has been filed with us, the Appeal Court has to prepare the case and send it to us. The Supreme Court will render justice based on the law,” Mony Choat said.

Nakry, the LYP Group representative in Koh Kong province, said that had Vanak and Kundy apologised to Yong Phat, the case would not have gotten this far.

“The company has a legitimate licence recognised by the government. These individuals took photos and posted video on Facebook Live without permission.

“If they had admitted to doing wrong against the company and apologised, maybe Yong Phat would have understood. He is not a bad person. But they do not seem to have accepted their mistakes at all,” Nakry said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group