Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Vanny: Prison no different from animals locked in cage



Vanny: Prison no different from animals locked in cage

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Boeung Kak land activist Tep Vanny is shown after her release from prison earlier this week. Pha Lina

Vanny: Prison no different from animals locked in cage

Boeung Kak community land activist Tep Vanny on Tuesday expressed her frustration with her just-ended two-year imprisonment.

Vanny said she and other land activists never wanted to participate in any protests in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s private residence or any state institutions.

“I never thought they would do that to me. It was unexpected that this [land dispute] development led to me receiving unfair prison sentences. It separated me from my family, my parents and my children.

“I was imprisoned for two years and five days, and unexpectedly, because of these developments.

“Staying in prison is no different from an animal locked up in a cage, which means I was in a cage. I saw the prison ceiling, prison bars, prison locks – there were four to five locks from the prison cell to the outside.

“I was in extreme shock. I didn’t do anything wrong. Why did they imprison me?” she asked.

Vanny said with no money left after being released, she was unsure how she would sustain her livelihood.

“Some people think I’m rich. They think I was paid to do what I did. We are innocent. If we don’t help each other we will not succeed. At my old house, the ceiling is leaking.”

‘Couldn’t sleep’

Vanny was released on Monday night after receiving a royal pardon at the request of Prime Minister-designate Hun Sen.

Phan Chhun Reth, another Boeung Kak community land activist, is among the 4,552 families who have been affected by development.

“Last night I was so happy because Vanny was released. I couldn’t sleep the whole night.

“The authority has not solved my case yet. They said my house is located on [Phnom Penh] City Hall’s land. When I built my home, it was not on the whole land,” he said.

Chhun Reth said her house measures 236 square metres, but the authority grants her only 140 square metres.

Vanny and Chhun Reth urged the new government to quickly find a solution for them.

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

  • 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

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting