JOINT STATEMENT: Phnom Penh Court Sentences Independent Radio Station Owner to 20 Years

Mam Sonando on 16 July 2012 at PP Mun. Court

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.

GDCC – Joint Open Letter to Cambodia Donors

The following organizations sent a joint open letter to Cambodia’s donors, which will participate in the Government-Development Partners Coordination Committee (GDCC) meeting on 26 September 2012: 1. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA); 2. Civil Rights Defenders; 3. Dignity International; 4. Freedom House; 5. Global Witness; 6. Human Rights Now; 7. Human Rights Watch; 8. The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders – a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

FIDH BRIEFING NOTE – Cambodia: A Mounting Human Rights Crisis

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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) released today a seven-page briefing note entitled “Cambodia: A Mounting Human Rights Crisis”. The briefing note warns that the violations of land and housing rights are “on-going, serious and systematic,” and that the use of judicial and extra-judicial means to harass, intimidate and criminalise activists is increasing. The briefing note is released ahead of the presentation of the latest report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia, Mr Surya Subedi. [...]

Two Persons Accused of Killing Hang Serei Odom Detained in Rattanakiri Province

On Saturday, 15th September 2012, the Rattanakiri province police detained two suspects—one is a military police officer named Ean Bunheng, alias Eng, and the other is his spouse, Sim Vy—at the provincial police headquarters. They have not been sent to the Prosecutor’s office at Rattanakiri Provincial Court yet. What is more, the provincial police prolonged their detention (by 24 hours) in order to conduct more investigation. The victim’s family, the journalists’ community, as well as human rights NGOs, are closely monitoring the handling of the case by the authorities and express grave concerns about this killing.

Update: The Verdict in Mam Sonando’s Case Will Be Announced on 1st October 2012

Mam Sonando’s trial ended today at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The verdict is due on 1 October 2012. Mam Sonando will remain in pre-trial detention until then.

Killing of a Journalist in Rattanakiri Province

On 11 September 2012, ADHOC’s office in Rattanakiri province received reliable information from Mr. Joun Phin Dara according to which a reporter working with the local newspaper Virakchun Khmer, Mr. Hang Serei Oddom, had disappeared.
ADHOC staff immediately started investigating and sought intervention with Mr. Em Vunn, head of Banlung police, to find out about the reporter’s whereabouts. At 12pm, the authorities located Hang Serei Oddom’s car at Savay Channty garden, Touy village, Ja Ong commune, Orchum district, about 3 kilometers away from town. Hang Serei Oddom was found dead in the trunk.

Mam Sonando’s Trial Began Yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court

The trial of Mam Sonando, President of the Democrats Association and owner of Beehive radio station (FM 105), began yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Mam Sonando faces charges related to a so-called “secessionist plot” in Kratie province, including insurrection and incitement, which could carry a sentence of up to 30 years imprisonment. Mam Sonando, who is 71, voluntarily returned to Cambodia to defend himself. He has been seriously ill while in pre-trial detention and was denied bail on two occasions.