The Ratanakkiri provincial court issued summonses to two staff from a rights group and one journalist for allegedly inciting villagers to protest against a company involved in a long running land dispute in the province, rights workers said yesterday.
Ratanakkiri provincial court prosecutor Luch Lao issued the summonses to Pen Bunna, provincial coordinator of Adhoc, Chay Thy, an Adhoc monitor, and Ratha Visal, a reporter for Radio Free Asia, they said. They were ordered to appear in the court on September 19 to answer questions over comments they made in a news broadcast in 2009.
“I respect the court’s procedures and will show up. I have no fear because I have done nothing wrong,” Pen Bunna said. His colleague Chay Thy echoed his sentiments, saying he had nothing to fear because he had done nothing wrong.
Both Adhoc workers had left the province after facing similar charges in July of 2009, but they returned last year. Ratha Visal declined to comment.
In 2008, residents of communities opposing the company’s rubber plantation had marched to the court to demand the release of 12 villagers who had been arrested on charges related to the land dispute.
Rights workers say the court has targeted them and accused them of inciting villagers to protest.
The land dispute is over 260 hectares of land. About 100 families in a village in Lumphat district claim the company has encroached on their land.
Luch Lao could not be reached for comment.