The mothers of two environmental activists, who have languished in prison since their September arrest, yesterday delivered petitions to various ministries in Phnom Penh seeking intervention.

The Mother Nature activists, Hun Vannak and Dem Kundy, were charged with “incitement” and making unauthorised recordings of a person’s “private property” for filming suspected sand-bearing vessels on the open ocean in Koh Kong.

The pair were filming from their own boat on the open sea, as much as kilometre away from the ships at the ruling Cambodian People’s Party Senator Ly Yong Phat’s special economic zone in Kiri Sakor district’s Prek Ksach.

Vannak’s mother, Ty Mary, said she had pleaded with the Koh Kong Provincial Court to release her son several times to no avail. “They have not violated the law,” she said.

Kundy’s mother, Duong Saktheary, said her son had been unfairly detained. “They just took photos,” she said. “If my son had done something illegal, I would not come and protest, but he has not done anything illegal.”

Environmental activist Lim Kimsor agreed. “They took a photo in the middle of the ocean,” she said. “They didn’t do anything wrong.”

The pair’s lawyer, Sor Chamroeun, said their trial is scheduled for January 25.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro