Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Village rep to be freed on bail, if protests stop

Village rep to be freed on bail, if protests stop

Village rep to be freed on bail, if protests stop

Koh Kong Provincial Court told Kiri Sakor district villagers yesterday that their jailed community leader, for whose release they have been protesting for more than a week, will be granted bail on the condition that they cease their demonstrations.

On October 27, the court detained community representative Phorn Noland and charged him with theft of materials belonging to the Koh Kong Special Economic Zone (SEZ), owned by tycoon and ruling party Senator Ly Yong Phat. About 135 families from the area have been embroiled in a dispute with the SEZ over land in the district.

After Nol’s detention, some 100 people, including protesters from the Boeung Kak lake community in Phnom Penh, erected tents in front of the court and have been demonstrating for nearly 10 days.

According to village representative Roeun Rom, judge Kham Sophary accepted the bail and said that Nol will be released next Monday if the villagers and their supporters break up the protest.

Rom, however, said that they would only stop protesting once Nol is released.

“Provided that Phorn Nol is released, we will demolish the tents immediately and we will look for other ways to protest the land dispute,” Rom said.

The court rejected Nol’s bail request on Tuesday but due to intervention from provincial governor Pen Bon Chhouy, the request was resubmitted, said Neang Boratino, of rights group Adhoc, which provided Nol with a lawyer.

Boratino called Nol’s planned release a tense impasse between the people and the court.

“We would like the court and authorities to drop charges or not detain people in land disputes, because protesters also have other priorities,” he said.

Judge Sophary declined to comment on the case.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,