Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Verdict today in case of jailed land activist

Verdict today in case of jailed land activist

Verdict today in case of jailed land activist

After more than three months in jail, environmental activist Kuch Veng is set to hear his verdict at the Pursat provincial court.

The verdict was originally scheduled to be handed down July 10, but the judge ordered it delayed after some 300 people from 11 provinces set up tents outside the court in protest of the use of the judicial system as a tool to threaten activists.

A community representative said yesterday that no more than 30 people were expected to show at today’s announcement, to forestall further postponement.

“Many people will not be coming like before, so I hope the court will adhere to its mission to seek justice and that [Veng] can regain his freedom,” Krakor district community representative Lon Siry said.

Presiding judge Mao Sina said the announcement would go ahead as scheduled.

“We open the hearing publicly and everyone can participate and listen,” he said.

Veng was arrested May 19 while meeting with villagers who claimed their land had been measured incorrectly by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s student volunteers in Kbal Trach commune. He stands accused of fraud after allegedly misappropriating $4,500 given to him by another villager in 2010. Rights groups have maintained that the charges are politically motivated and tied to his history of outspoken activism.

The arrests came following a number of protests against powerful developer Pheapimex, which is owned by Choeung Sopheap, wife of ruling-party senator Lao Meng Khin, and which villagers maintain has been involved in land-grabbing.

Puong Sothear, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said yesterday the charges were likely aimed at warning off other would-be activists.

“Getting the judicial system to detain Kuch Veng is to discourage other people from protesting,” he said.

According to the latest Adhoc report, released early this year, crackdowns on land rights activists have been on the rise. In 2012, 223 people were arrested in relation to housing and land issues – an increase of 144 per cent year on year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be