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Mothers demand sons’ release

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The activists were arrested after photographing alleged sand dredging. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The families of two detained environmental activists submitted a petition yesterday to various ministries and state institutions asking for the release of their children, arguing they had not committed any crime.

The activists, Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy, used to work for the NGO Mother Nature. They are being detained in Prek Svay prison in Koh Kong province, for violation of privacy.

They were arrested in September after they photographed alleged sand dredging at a beach in the province’s Prek Khsach district. A complaint was filed by the company of tycoon Ly Yong Phat.

Ty Mary, Mr Vannak’s mother, said they have filed petitions to the Environment Ministry, Mines and Energy Ministry, the cabinet of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers for them to intervene to release their children.

Meanwhile, Koh Kong Provincial Court is quiet on the case.

“It has been more than four months, and there is no sign of resolution. They continue to detain them without a trial. So I asked relevant institutions to push for my son’s release,” Ms Mary said. “They did not commit any crime, they helped society by protecting the environment. Now they are in jail, it is too unfair.”

Sek Chea, an Environment Ministry official who received the petition, said he had already submitted it to expert officials for review.

“It has reached my superiors already, so it is now in the experts’ hands. I don’t know how long it will take,” he said.

Representatives of the Ministry of Mines and Energy also accepted the petition, but it is not the case yet with the Prime Minister’s cabinet or the Council of Ministers.

On November 14, 22 civil society groups issued a joint statement requesting the release of Mr Vannak and Mr Kundy. Those organisations said the temporary detention of the pair was conducted without careful consideration and could be a violation of national and international law.

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