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Sonando calls march for jailed rights staffers

Beehive Democratic Society Party president Mam Sonando attends a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Labour in 2014.
Beehive Democratic Society Party president Mam Sonando attends a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Labour in 2014. Pha Lina

Sonando calls march for jailed rights staffers

Radio journalist and president of the Beehive Democratic Society Party Mam Sonando has declared he will lead a protest of 200 people through Freedom Park on July 9 unless four human rights officials and an electoral commission official are released from prison.

A strident critic of the government, Sonando has been imprisoned three times over allegations of inciting riots, defamation and insurrection.

On Wednesday he called for the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to withdraw the complaint against four Adhoc staffers – Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda and Lem Mony – and National Election Committee deputy secretary-general Ny Chakrya.

The five were arrested on May 2 for allegedly bribing a witness in a prostitution case involving CNRP acting president Kem Sokha and salon worker Khom Chandaraty.

Sonando called on the ACU to apply the law neutrally and fairly. “We are not against the ACU . . . but civil society does nothing to frighten the government since they solve only the human rights abuses, and if they made a mistake, I do not support imprisoning them; that is not a solution,” he said.

Phnom Penh City Hall Deputy Governor Khuong Sreng said he had received Sonando’s notice, but was still deliberating on whether the protest would be permitted. He claimed Sonando’s demands for the prisoners’ release could breach the separation of powers between political and judicial spheres.

ACU chairman Om Yentieng could not be reached.

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