Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tep Vanny hit with 30-month jail sentence



Tep Vanny hit with 30-month jail sentence

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A fight erupts outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court this morning. Heng Chivoan

Tep Vanny hit with 30-month jail sentence

Violence marred the trial of prominent land activist Tep Vanny, who was sentenced earlier this morning to two years and six months for aggravated intentional violence in relation to a 2013 protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in Phnom Penh.

As Vanny’s trial resumed after a two week recess, Prampi Makara district security guards started to kick, shove and drag land activists who gathered outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court premises, pushing them to the other side of the street. Two Boeung Kak lake activists and one pregnant woman from the Borei Keila community suffered minor injuries and fainted during the scuffle.

In the ensuing melee, about six security guards could be seen chasing Mao Socheat, a motodop and resident of Samaki Rainsy pagoda, into the nearby City Mall, where they beat him up for attempting to defend the protesters.

Video footage of guards beating Mao Socheat in City Mall:

“When we heard they were going to take Tep Vanny to prison, we wanted to show our support,” said Boeung Kak activist Song Sreyleap. “But the authorities did not want us to do that and beat us, pushed us away from the court.”

Inside Courtroom 3, screams and shouted slogans broke out among Vanny supporters as judge Long Kesor Pirum announced she would be sent to Prey Sar prison for 30 months. She was also fined 5 million riel ($1,240) and and ordered to pay 9 million riel ($2,240) in compensation to the two plaintiffs – Daun Penh security guards Hao Hoeurn and Ouk Ratana.

The trial, which commenced on February 3, was abruptly adjourned the same day after judge Kesor Pirum cited health reasons. Neither of the plaintiffs was in court nor were the Daun Penh security guards – with only their written statements read out during the trial.

“There were about 100 people at the protest on March 13, 2013,” read Hoeurn’s statement. “Then we heard Tep Vanny give the order to start violence against the authorities.”

Defense lawyer Sam Sokunthea, in her closing argument, said there was no truth to the security guards’ accusations and said the perfect synchronicity between prosecution witness testimonies was troubling.

“The evidence given by the plaintiffs is not reliable,” she said. “The evidence from them and the two prosecution witnesses seemed coordinated.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and