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Vanny, Boeung Kak activists see sentences upheld

Land rights activist Tep Vanny is escorted by officials yesterday outside Appeal Court in Phnom Penh.
Land rights activist Tep Vanny is escorted by officials yesterday outside Appeal Court in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

Vanny, Boeung Kak activists see sentences upheld

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld a municipal court decision to sentence prominent land activist Tep Vanny and three others to six months in prison in relation to a five-year-old protest that turned violent outside Phnom Penh’s City Hall.

Vanny, Heng Mom, Kong Chantha and Bo Chhorvy were found guilty last month by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for being the “ringleaders” of the 2011 scuffle with Daun Penh security guards outside City Hall.

They were charged with insulting and obstructing public officials. Their appeal was rejected yesterday by judge Nhong Thol, who said the Boeung Kak activists did not have permission for the protest and had initiated the attack on the untrained and notoriously violent security force sent to disperse them.

While Chantha, Mom and Chhorvy are free pending appeals, Vanny is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence handed down last Wednesday in connection to a 2013 protest.

“I do not believe in the court. They just listen to the mouths of others,” Vanny said, as she was led from the courtroom.

The foursome’s lawyer, Sam Sokunthea, said she would consult with her clients before filing a Supreme Court appeal.

Separately yesterday, a Supreme Court challenge of the ongoing detention of four Adhoc staffers and one election official was postponed because the plaintiffs did not receive the summonses.

The five have now been held more than 300 days over “bribery” charges related to a sex scandal tied to CNRP acting president Kem Sokha.

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