On 09 October 2012 villagers from Kantuot Commune, Choam Ksan District, Preah Vihear Province handed a petition to cabinet official Nov Ra, alleging repeated land grabs, violence and intimidation at a Social Land Concession (SLC) granted to one star General, Pen Lim in 2007. On 10 October 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly called for Pen Lim’s arrest in relation to the SLC at a land title ceremony in Kampot province. The villagers also came to protest other land grabs in the area, claiming the involvement of other officials from the provincial government and the Ministry of Land.
On 08th October 2012, past residents of the Dey Krahorm community in central Phnom Penh gathered at the site of their former homes to petition the National Assembly to put an end to pervasive land-grabbing and forced evictions across Cambodia. The residents of Dey Krahorm were forcibly evicted and the community razed on 29 January 2009, when armed police, military police and demolition workers came at night to tear down houses and move people off their land. In many cases residents did not have time to move their possessions outside of their houses before they were pulled down by the demolition teams.
On 1 October 2012, Ou Virak, President of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”), Pen Bonnar and Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator and investigator from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (“ADHOC”), and Radio Free Asia (“RFA”) reporter, Sok Ratha, aka Ratha Visal, were summonsed by the deputy prosecutor at Ratanakkiri Provincial Court to appear for questioning on charges of incitement to commit a crime. The charges were based on a complaint by leading party commune chief Kith Chem and purportedly relate to allegations that the men incited members of an ethnic minority to protest violently against powerful agro-business company, D.M. Group, in 2009.
We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s shocking conviction of independent radio station owner Mam Sonando today, and the draconian 20-year sentence that he received. At age 70, Sonando is likely to die in prison if he serves his full term.
Sonando, the owner of Beehive radio, was arrested on July 12 on charges that he masterminded a so-called “secessionist movement” in Kratie. Several co-defendants were charged with organizing the movement on the ground. They were all convicted as well, though two of the previously identified “ringleaders” had their sentences suspended, echoing the Prime Minister’s public statement that those who confess would be spared punishment.