Topic: Judiciary and Rule of LawBriefing Paper: The Mam Sonando Case Explained
Published on August 30, 2012; On July 15, 2012, independent Beehive Radio station owner and director Mam Sonando was arrested on suspicion of leading an "insurrectionary movement" in Kratie province. A trial is scheduled for Sept. 11. He faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted of all charges.
This paper is summarizes the case and concludes that the charges against Sonando are unjustified and an attempt to suppress free speech. In the continuing absence of credible evidence, Sonando should be released immediately, and the charges against him should be dropped unconditionally.
Published on August 15, 2012; We, the undersigned civil society groups, deeply regret the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to pursue politically-motivated charges against outspoken human rights worker Chan Soveth for legitimate actions related to his work.
Published on July 23, 2012; Late last year, the Cambodian government quietly released a draft Law on the Management and Use of Agricultural Land that would have serious implications for private landholders. The draft law as currently written could be used as legal cover for land-grabbing and for those who wish to exploit and personally profit from Cambodiaâ€™s land and resources. Most alarmingly, the law creates felony criminal liability for any actions that violate the lawâ€™s far reaching provisions. The following aspects of the draft law require immediate scrutiny and substantial revisions.
Published on July 22, 2012; This documentary takes a look at the recent campaign to free the 15 imprisoned Boeung Kak lake activists. The fifteen were arrested in late May 2012 during and after a peaceful protest highlighting a long-standing land dispute with Shukaku Inc. company, owned by a Cambodian ruling party senator.
One of the released activists presented this video at the fifth annual Summer Institute in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Singapore in July 2012.
Published on July 16, 2012; The undersigned organizations are deeply disturbed by independent radio station director Mam Sonando's arrest on Sunday, July 15, 2012, and call for his immediate release. Mr. Sonando, who holds both Cambodian and French citizenship, is the owner of Beehive Radio, which is among the few independent radio stations in Cambodia. Sonando is also the founder and president of the Democrat Association.
Published on June 27, 2012; We, the above organizations, welcome the release today of the 13 jailed Boeung Kak (BK) representatives but strongly condemn police violence against BK residents trying to reach the appeal court and regret that the convictions against the 13 were upheld despite the government's failure, again, to present any evidence of the alleged crimes.
Published on May 30, 2012; We, Cambodian and International civil society organizations represented in this statement, condemn the use of armed force and escalating violence against citizens peacefully defending their land, labor and natural resources rights. We are referring to not only the events earlier last week on 22nd May, when dozens of peaceful Boeung Kak Lake (BKL) protesters were violently dispersed and two days later when fifteen (fourteen women and one male) BKL residents were sent to Prey Sar prison and charged and convicted of unfounded criminal offenses, but also the recent shooting incidents-the killings of environmental activist Chut Wutty in Koh Kong province and 14-year old girl Heng Chantha in Kratie province, and the shooting of three young women protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province. These incidents are particularly disturbing because they indicate an increasing readiness on the part of security and military forces to use lethal force against civilians.
Published on May 25, 2012; The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) denounces this morning's decision by the Phnom Penh Supreme Court to uphold Leang Sokchouen's groundless conviction and two-year prison sentence.
Published on May 24, 2012; Shortly after a joint statement condemning the violent and arbitrary arrest of 13 women from the Boeung Kak community, Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF), Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Equitable Cambodia, Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), Inclusive Development International (IDI), and Licadho Canada express their outrage at the baseless criminal convictions of the women and the utter travesty of justice that occurred today.
Published on April 23, 2012; In 2010, LICADHO reported on an epidemic of in absentia criminal appeals trials in Cambodia. Hundreds of inmates were stranded in provincial prisons, unable to attend their hearings in Phnom Penh due to lack of transportation funding, poor organization between the prisons and courts and, more generally, an indifference to their plight. Two years later, the problem remains unaddressed.
As of February 2012, nearly 800 inmates with pending appeals were held in 11 provincial prisons surveyed by LICADHO. As was the case in 2010, the General Department of Prisons (GDP) still has no means to transport these prisoners to their appeal hearings in Phnom Penh. The prison system lacks the vehicles, gasoline, staffing and funding necessary for a comprehensive long-distance inmate transportation network. This report examines the scope of the problem and possible solutions
Published on March 22, 2012; This week marks the two year anniversary of the UN Human Rights Council's adoption of Cambodia's Universal Period Review (UPR) outcome report. Remarkably, during the UPR, Cambodia accepted all 91 recommendations presented by dozens of countries on a wide range of human rights issues. Since then, the government has tasked the Cambodian Human Rights Committee (CHRC) with coordinating Cambodia's response - a process which has amounted to little, if any, meaningful implementation of the recommendations by relevant state institutions.
After two years of ignoring the substance of the majority of those recommendations, and two years of an ever deteriorating human rights landscape, the Cambodian government owes the UPR delegates and Working Group, and most of all its own citizens, an explanation.
Published on March 15, 2012; We, the undersigned groups and individual members of civil society, are calling for justice to be served in accordance with the rule of law, with regard to the brutal shootings of three young Cambodian female workers - Buon Chinda, Keo Nei and Nuth Sakhorn - on Feb. 20, 2012, in Svay Rieng's Bavet district.
Many Cambodian garment workers already live a life of hardship, suffering, poverty and uncertainty. As such, the workers should receive protection and support from the State, not face further victimization through brutal acts of violence.
Published on February 21, 2012; After years of blatant impunity for similar crimes, the latest shooting of three young women while protesting for better working conditions in Svay Rieng province comes as little surprise. Gun violence directed at unarmed protestors has been on the rise recently throughout Cambodia.
"This latest shooting appears to be a clear-cut case of attempted murder," said Am Sam Ath, from LICADHO. "Reports indicate that the gunman shot directly at the protesting workers. There can be no question that such actions constitute premeditation and an intent to kill under the Penal Code."
Published on December 22, 2011; Donors, who provide approximately half of Cambodia's national budget, should make clear to the Cambodian government that the fourth draft of the Law on Associations and NGOs (LANGO) must be revised to protect civil society or be withdrawn, a group of concerned international human rights organizations said today. Any revisions should involve meaningful consultation with civil society organizations and aim to support their activities instead of creating a legal framework allowing for arbitrary closure of organizations or the denial of registration.
Published on December 20, 2011; On the morning of December 20, 2011, at 8:30 AM, over 100 Cambodian citizens from Phnom Penh and 23 provinces peacefully unrolled a 230 meter long blue kramar petition in front of the National Assembly. The petition addressed in Khmer to the Royal Government of Cambodia from the citizens of Cambodia calls on the government to: '... halt its intention of passing the Law on Associations and Non governmental Organizations, the Law on Trades Union and the Law on Farmers' Cooperative which restrict the basic rights and freedoms of Cambodian citizens."