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Journalists nabbed over land dispute

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The two journalists. Fresh News

Preah Sihanouk provincial military police on Friday arrested two journalists and five others over a land dispute in Sihanoukville.

National Military Police spokesman Brigadier General Eng Hy identified the journalists as Hun Sokha, Club of Independent Journalists president, and Keo Ratana, publisher of TN Online.

“They have been sent to court already, so please ask to the provincial court for more details,” Brig Gen Hy said.

Brigadier General Heng Bunti, provincial military police commander, could not be reached for comment yesterday, but told local media on Friday that seven people were arrested over violence against a property owner.

“Five people were arrested at around 10.55am on Friday and two journalists were arrested later in the afternoon,” Brig Gen Bunti said.

A CIJ letter signed by deputy president Leang Sopheak on Saturday requested the Information Minister Khieu Kanharith to intervene in the case, noting that Mr Sokha and Mr Ratana were arrested and accused of using violence against a property owner after they went to collect information about a land dispute.

The letter said the arrests and accusations against the two were unjust because they had merely gone to collect information from a group of people who were protesting over a land dispute in Bei commune’s Muoy village.

It noted that both journalists shot video of the protest and left the scene without incident and it was wrong to accuse them of unprofessional conduct.

The letter said that later in the day, Mr Sokha and Mr Ratana went to collect information about another case in front of the Provincial Hall when two people in civilian clothes arrested them and took them to the provincial military police headquarters.

“Please, information minister, help to intervene to free the two journalists,” the letter added.

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