Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Spanish nature activist court hearing begins

Spanish nature activist court hearing begins

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Enviromental activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson talks during a 2014 Mother Nature press conference in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Spanish nature activist court hearing begins

The Koh Kong provincial court on Tuesday heard the case of Spanish environmental activist Alejandro “Alex” Gonzalez-Davidson, who is accused of being an accomplice in “threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage” and inciting others to do the same.

Gonzalez-Davidson’s defence lawyer, Sam Chamroeun, said the court heard the case in the absence of his client and the verdict was due to be delivered on August 22.

Provincial court spokesman Un Sovantheany confirmed that the outspoken activist’s case was being heard, saying: “The court is hearing the case according to legal procedures.”

Gonzalez-Davidson was charged with being an accomplice in threatening to cause destruction, defacement or damage and inciting others to do the same according to Articles 29 and 424 of the Criminal Code.

The offences were allegedly committed in the Prek Andong Teuk area in Botum Sakor district’s Andong Teuk commune between July 26 and 28, 2015.

The case involved alleged repeated obstruction of sand-dredging activities in Koh Kong province.

Gonzalez-Davidson is the co-founder of NGO Mother Nature Cambodia and his case is linked to an event in July 2015 when three environmental activists from the NGO – San Mala, Sim Samnang and Try Sovikea – boarded sand dredging vessels operated by a company called Direct Access.

Mala, Samnang and Sovikea were later arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined a total of $25,500 by the Koh Kong provincial court in 2016.

They were released after serving 10 months, with the remaining eight months suspended.

Gonzalez-Davidson told The Post on Tuesday that the charges brought against him were illegitimate and were not in accordance with legal procedures.

“How can I be an accomplice when there was no crime?

“Mother Nature activists Sim Samnang, San Mala and Try Sovikea were peacefully protesting against the illegal sand dredging in July and August 2015,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Environment admitted in 2017 that the dredging affected the environment.

He said he attempted to return to Cambodia from Spain to attend the hearing on Tuesday but his visa application was rejected.

MOST VIEWED

  • Quarantine still a must for all arrivals, in next Covid chapter

    Since early May, an average of five to 10 Cambodian people have died from Covid-19 a day with many others testing positive amid the ongoing community outbreak. At the same time, however, hundreds of patients also recovered a day. The first Covid-19 case in Cambodia was

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • First commercial gold mine online

    Australian miner Renaissance Minerals (Cambodia) Ltd on June 21 began the commercial operation of its $120 million Okvau Gold Project in the northeastern province of Mondulkiri, becoming the Kingdom’s first gold producer. Located in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district, the

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • Transport minister requests free trial of Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway

    The Ministry of Public Works and Transport held discussions with the company constructing the expressway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province to allow drivers to test the road free of charge before an official toll is set. While inspecting the progress of its construction