Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mother Nature founder has charges dropped

Mother Nature founder has charges dropped

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Mother Nature co-founder Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson. FACEBOOK

Mother Nature founder has charges dropped

The Koh Kong provincial court on Thursday dropped the case against Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, the founder of environmental NGO Mother Nature.

Gonzalez-Davidson had been charged with being an accomplice in “threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage” and inciting others to do the same under articles 29 and 424 of the Criminal Code.

“The trial judges ruled to free Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson from the charges,” said Koh Kong Provincial Court spokesperson Un Sovantheany.

Gonzalez-Davidson was alleged to have committed the offences in the Prek Andong Teuk area of Botum Sakor district’s Andong Teuk commune in Koh Kong province between July 26 and 28, 2015.

The case centred around the alleged repeated obstruction of sand-dredging operations.

Three Mother Nature Cambodia activists, San Mala, Sim Samnang and Try Sovikea, were in 2016 sentenced to 18 months in prison for “threatening to cause destruction,defacement or damage”. They were fined a total of more than $25,000.

The three were released after having served 10 months in prison, with the remaining eight months suspended.

“The court dropped the case, but we are not sure whether the prosecutor will appeal against the judges’ decision.

“The court announced the verdict due to my client’s absence, so I don’t have the complete ruling yet. I am happy there has been a fair result for my client,” Gonzalez-Davidson’s lawyer Sam Chamroeun told The Post on Thursday.

When contacted, Gonzalez-Davidson told The Post that he was pleased to have been exonerated.

“The judges said I was innocent, and if the prosecutor doesn’t file an appeal against the verdict, this will be the first case like this I think I have ever seen.

“I have observed many cases brought against activists and journalists, and if they were charged, I have never seen them freed.

“But I appreciate this. I am very happy as this is justice for me. And I hope this is not the last case in which the judicial system fulfils its role correctly. I would like to thank the judges for making this decision as I am innocent,” Gonzalez-Davidson said.

However, he questioned why the three Mother Nature activists had been convicted and requested King Norodom Sihamoni pardon them.

He also called on the Ministry of Interior to allow him to return to the Kingdom to continue protecting Cambodia’s environment.

Prosecutor Iv Tray told The Post on Thursday that he had yet to decide on filing an appeal. He said he had 30 days in which to do so.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the