Cambodia: Land rights activist Tep Vanny and 3 other Boeung Kak community leaders released from prison following royal pardon

Tep-Vanny-photo-credit-Amnesty-UK-via-Twitter

Land rights activist Tep Vanny was convicted in February 2017 of "aggravated intentional violence" for her participation in a 2013 protest in front of Prime Minister Hun Sen's house, calling for the release of arbitrarily detained Boeung Kak Lake community members. Three other activists -- Heng Mom, Bo Chhorvy and Kong Chantha -- were convicted of "obstructing public officials". All four decisions have been overturned by royal pardon.

Further information on Tep Vanny's case is available here.

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Article
21 August 2018

Cambodia’s King Pardons Land Activist Tep Vanny, Three Others

Author: Joshua Lipes, Radio Free Asia

Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni...granted royal pardons to prominent land rights activist Tep Vanny and three others convicted for their roles in a protest over a land grab in the capital Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak Lake community.

Tep Vanny, 38, was arrested on Aug. 15, 2016 after participating in a demonstration, handed six days in prison for “insulting a public official” and, instead of being released when the sentence was served, charged with “aggravated intentional violence” for a protest she held more than three years earlier in front of the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

On Feb. 23, 2017, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Tep Vanny of assaulting two security officers during the 2013 protest at Hun Sen’s home, sentencing her to 30 months in prison and making her pay 9 million riels (U.S. $2,250) in compensation to the officers.

Three other female activists—Heng Mom, Bo Chhorvy, and Kong Chantha—were also convicted for “obstructing public officials” during the protest, but released on bail.

On Monday, King Sihamoni issued a royal decree at the behest of Hun Sen, overturning the convictions of all four activists without providing any reason for the decision...

Hun Sen, who added another five-year term to his 33 years in office with the election win, has made a practice of heavy-handed crackdowns on his critics, followed by a relaxation of restrictions after facing international condemnation.

Last week, the U.S. announced an expansion of visa bans on individuals seen as limiting democracy in the country, as part of a series of “concrete steps” aimed at pressuring Cambodia to “reverse course” that included a decision to withdraw funding for last month’s elections.

The European Union, which was the second biggest trade partner of Cambodia in 2017, also withdrew support ahead of the ballot and is currently reviewing a preferential trade scheme for Cambodian exports based on the country’s election environment...

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Article
20 August 2018

BREAKING NEWS: King Grants Amnesty to Release Land Activist Tep Vanny and Three Other Activists

Author: Fresh News

Tep-Vanny-pardon

In response to the request of premier Hun Sen, His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni granted an amnesty to release Tep Vanny, a land rights activist and leader of the Boeung Kak community, according to the Royal decree Fresh News received on Monday.

Tep Vanny, detained for over two years charged with insulting government officials, will be released immediately tonight from “M2” prison, not far from the Killing Field.

Other three activists, namely Heng Mom, 41, Bo Chorvy, 42, and Kong Chantha, 43, were also granted amnesty.

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Article
15 August 2018

Cambodia: Civil Society Groups Call for the Release of Tep Vanny

Author: Human Rights Watch, 24 Families Community, 92 Community, 105 Community, and others

Joint Statement on the Second Anniversary of Land Rights Activist’s Imprisonment

Land activist and human rights defender Tep Vanny has been unjustly detained for two years as of today, for defending the rights of the Boeung Kak Lake community and her fellow Cambodians. We, the undersigned civil society organizations and communities, condemn her ongoing imprisonment and call on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Tep Vanny, drop all dormant criminal charges and overturn any convictions against her, so that she may return to her family and community.

Tep Vanny has fought tirelessly to protect the rights of members of her community following their forced eviction from their homes on Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh, but also those of fellow human rights defenders campaigning for separate causes. As long as she is behind bars, Tep Vanny is prevented from carrying out her peaceful and valuable work...

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