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Embassy concerned by arrests

Embassy concerned by arrests

The US Embassy says it is “deeply concerned” by the arrest of 17 people in Koh Kong, including human rights monitors and journalists, at a Wednesday protest.

Protesters demanding the release of three Mother Nature activists detained for activities against sand-dredging firm Direct Access were held for eight hours, as were some reporters and monitors.

Via email yesterday, embassy acting public affairs officer Courtney Woods said peaceful protest and freedom of expression were part of a healthy democracy.

“We urge the Cambodian government to ensure that these fundamental rights are valued and protected,” Woods said.

On Thursday, Koh Kong provincial hall issued a statement justifying the arrests, saying the group had affected public order by marching to court without permission.

Rights groups yesterday said they wanted to meet the prosecutor to explain the role of human rights monitors and the legality of peaceful protests.

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