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Ongoing arbitrary detention of three Mother Nature Cambodia activists

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KHM 002 / 0920 / OBS 101.3

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment

Cambodia

November 9, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has acquired new info and requests your pressing intervention within the following scenario in Cambodia.

New info:

The Observatory has been knowledgeable concerning the suspension of elements of the jail sentences in opposition to environmental activists and members of Mother Nature Cambodia Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea, and Phoun Keo Reaksmey. Mr. Ratha stays detained in Phnom Penh’s Correctional Centre 1, whereas Mses. Kunthea and Keo Reaksmey stay detained in Phnom Penh’s Correctional Centre 2.

On November 5, 2021, the Phnom Penh Appeal Court suspended elements of the jail sentences issued in opposition to the three Mother Nature Cambodia activists on May 5, 2021 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Long Kunthea and Phoun Keo Reaksmey had initially been sentenced to 18 months in jail and a advantageous of 4 million riel (roughly 825 Euros) on expenses of “incitement to cause societal chaos” (Articles 494 and 495 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), whereas Thun Ratha had been sentenced to twenty months in jail and a advantageous of 4 million riel on the identical expenses.

Following the Appeal Court’s resolution, Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phoun Keo Reaksmey’s jail sentence was lowered to 14 months. Moreover, they’ve been imposed a three-year probation interval (Articles 119 and 120 of the Criminal Code), throughout which the three activists might be requested to tell the prosecutor of any change of tackle, career and intention to go away the nation. They may also not be allowed to affiliate with any of the convicted activists in the identical case. Finally, ought to they be convicted of “incitement to cause societal chaos” in the course of the probation interval, they must serve the total authentic sentence along with any new one. Arbitrarily arrested and detained since September 3, 2020, Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phoun Keo ought to have been launched after the Appeal Court’s resolution as a result of they served their 14-month jail sentences. However, they continue to be detained on expenses of “plotting” (Article 453 of the Criminal Code) pressed in opposition to them by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on July 19, 2021. If discovered responsible on this case, they may withstand 10 years in jail.

The Observatory remembers that the three activists have been arbitrarily arrested on September 3, 2020 for planning a solo protest calling for the safety of Phnom Penh’s Bueng Ta-mouk lake. On September 7, 2020, the Ministry of Interior launched a press release instructing authorities to take authorized motion in opposition to members of Mother Nature Cambodia, accusing the group of “causing social chaos”, and labelling the organisation as unlawful for not being registered underneath the repressive Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (“LANGO”).

The Observatory remembers that on the day through which the preliminary sentence was handed in opposition to the three activists, Mother Nature activist Alejandro González-Davidson and Khmer Thavrak member Chea Kunthin have been sentenced in absentia to twenty and 18 months in jail respectively, on expenses of “accomplice” (Article 29 of the Cambodian Criminal Code) and “incitement to cause societal chaos”, and to a advantageous of 4 million riel every.

The Observatory reiterates its deepest concern concerning the Cambodian authorities’ systematic use of authorized harassment and a politicised judicial system to focus on land and environmental activists, and remembers that this isn’t the primary time that Mother Nature Cambodia activists have confronted such harassment.

The Observatory strongly condemns the continuing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea and Phoun Keo Reaksmey, in addition to the judicial harassment of Alejandro González-Davidson and Chea Kunthin, because it appears to be solely aimed toward punishing them for his or her reliable environmental and human rights actions, and urges the Cambodian authorities to place an finish to all acts of harassment in opposition to the above-mentioned human rights defenders and instantly and unconditionally launch them.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Cambodia to induce them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the bodily integrity and psychological well-being of Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea, Phoun Keo Reaksmey, and Chea Kunthin, and all different human rights defenders in Cambodia;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally launch Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea, and Phoun Keo Reaksmey, since their detention is arbitrary because it appears to be merely aimed toward punishing them for his or her reliable human rights actions;

iii. Put an finish to all acts of harassment – together with on the judicial degree – in opposition to Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea, Phoun Keo Reaksmey, Chea Kunthin, and Alejandro González-Davidson, and all different human rights defenders in Cambodia, and make sure that they can perform their reliable actions in all circumstances with none hindrance and worry of reprisals.

Addresses:

• Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh / cppparty@gmail.com

• Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Email: moi@cambodia.gov.kh

• Mr. KOEUT Rith, Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Email: moj@cambodia.gov.kh

• Mr. Prak Sokhon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Email: mfaic@mfa.gov.kh / mfaicasean@mfaic.gov.kh

• Mr. Ly Chantola, President of the Cambodian Bar Association. Email: information@bakc.org.kh

• Ambassador Mr. Ney Samol, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: camemb.gva@mfa.gov.kh

Please additionally write to the diplomatic representations of Cambodia in your respective nations.

***

Geneva-Paris, November 9, 2021

Kindly inform us of any motion undertaken quoting the code of this attraction in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The goal of this programme is to stop or treatment conditions of repression in opposition to human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are each members of ShieldDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism carried out by worldwide civil society.

To contact the Observatory, name the emergency line:

• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

• Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39

• Tel FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18