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22 Nov 2022

Ouch Sony, VOD

Cambodia: Kandal Court acquit nine land protesters of violence charges one year after violent protests in land disputes

"Kandal Airport Protesters Acquitted of Violence, Incitement", 22 November 2022

A Kandal court acquitted nine airport protesters who were charged with multiple felonies for alleged violence during protests, more than a year after they were arrested and bailed.

Nine airport protesters living in Kandal Stung district were part of a group of 34 people arrested by police ... and accused of violence after protests against the $1.5-billion development project, which is set to serve Phnom Penh. Provincial officials accused the protesters of being in possession of sticks, stones and slingshots, and said they hurled gasoline and burned tires.

They were bailed a few days later, with one village resident saying they were forced to accept the meager compensation offered by the state for their land and were asked to stop their protests.

The nine defendants were found not guilty by the Kandal Provincial Court ..., after the court held a trial ...

Am Sam Ath, operations director at Licadho, said the rights group represented five of the defendants. The prosecution had also asked the bench to drop the charges against the nine because their actions did not match the charges and they were not involved in the alleged crimes, Sam Ath said.

Additionally, the nine have accepted compensation offered by the government, which likely factored in the verdict, he added.

... The nine defendants are Song Pechra, 19; Duk Sinat, 23; Chun Deab, 45; Soy Ra, 48; Khim Chetra, 44; Srun Nhak, 40; Nuon Sao, 59; Kem Roeun, 68; and Korn Sokhorn, 46...