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Motodops protest at Licadho

Motodops protest at Licadho

120913_03

Motodop drivers call for justice for a fellow motorbike taxi driver who was allegedly attacked by Boeung Kak activists. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Motodops who claim jailed Boeung Kak lake woman Yorm Bopha viciously beat two of their own marched to the office of human-rights group Licadho yesterday to protest against comments made by one of its advisers.

The protesters, from the Cambodia Confederation Development Association, carried banners from Freedom Park that defended the rights of motodops but, more pointedly, denounced Licadho senior adviser Am Sam Ath for “turning a criminal case into a land case”.

CCDA president E Sophors said the group had delivered a petition to Licadho’s office, in Meanchey district’s Boeung Trabek commune, about 10:30am, expressing disapproval for comments Sam Ath made during a radio interview on Sunday in support of Bopha.

“He’s saying her arrest was over a land dispute,” he said. “Well, he could investigate whether Bopha was involved in the beating or not. If it was a land dispute, why are my members injured?”

Bopha, 29, was arrested last Tuesday, charged with intentional violence and ordered to serve pre-trial detention in Prey Sar prison.

When Borei Keila evictee Tim Sakmony, 65, was arrested the next day, rights groups said the courts were being used as weapons against land protesters.

The motorcycle association protested in the capital on Monday, alleging Bopha, her husband and two other men were involved in beating two motodops, one of whom they claim was seriously injured.

Boeung Kak and Borei Keila villagers also marched in protest on Monday, but were blocked by police from walking to the Ministry of Justice.

Am Sam Ath could not be reached for comment yesterday; however, Licadho president Pung Chhiv Kek said she stood by his comments.“[We] are fully confident in his professionalism and competence as a spokesperson for Licadho,” she said.

She also supported the motodop association’s right to voice its opinion.“We’ve consistently advocated for the right to peaceful assembly to all Cambodians,” she said.

“This group of demonstrators was able to move freely around the city today. This is in sharp contrast to land-related protests and what we have been seeing at the Mam Sonando trial.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]
With assistance from Shane Worrell

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