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Court upholds terms for Boeung Kak activists

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Land activist Tep Vanny lost her appeal to the Supreme Court. KT/Mai Vireak

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the sentences of three Boeung Kak activists, including Tep Vanny, for obstructing and insulting public officials during a 2011 protest outside Phnom Penh City Hall.

Supreme Court spokesman Nouv Monychot said yesterday that the court decided to uphold the Appeal Court’s decision, but declined to comment further.

Ms Vanny, Bo Chhorvy and Kong Chantha were sentenced in absentia by the municipal court in September 2016, five years after their alleged offence.

During the 2011 protest, the activists demanded that 100 Boeung Kak families be given part of a plot of land Prime Minister Hun Sen had pledged to set aside for evicted members of the community.

Violence broke out when police blocked protesters walking toward Monivong Boulevard.

Ms Chantha said yesterday that the Supreme Court did not provide justice for her and the other activists.

“I feel it is very unjust for me and the other Boeung Kak activists, because we did nothing wrong,” she said.

Seung Sen Karona, a senior member of human rights group Adhoc, said that the verdict did not come as a surprise. “These activists suffered for their land problems, and on top of that they suffered from the authorities’ accusations,” he said.

“Based on my observation, rich and powerful people are always innocent, but the poor, including land activists, are always treated unjustly by the court,” Mr Sen Karona added.

On August 8, 2017, the appeal court upheld a verdict against Tep Vanny, who was sentenced to nearly three years in prison over violence involving security guards near Mr Hun Sen’s house.

Ms Vanny has been in Prey Sar prison since August 2016.

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