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12 Nov 2021


Cambodia: Courts release six environmental rights defenders affiliated with Mother Nature on bail after widespread criticism from CSOs and international community

"Mother Nature Activists Released on Bail", 12 November 2021

Six Mother Nature activists who are facing felony and misdemeanour criminal charges were released on bail this evening from Phnom Penh’s Correctional Centre 1 and Correctional Centre 2 prisons. They were reunited with their family’s after spending up to 14 months in prison. The six activists were also placed under judicial supervision, requiring monthly visits to local authorities and limiting their freedom of movement.

Sun Ratha and Yim Leanghy were arrested … and charged with plotting and insulting the King under articles 453 and 437(bis) of the Criminal Code. Ly Chandaravuth was also arrested on the same day and charged with plotting. Thun Ratha, Long Kunthea, and Phuon Keoraksmey were added to the case and charged with plotting … while they were serving prison sentences from a separate conviction on incitement charges ...

…, the Phnom Penh Appeal Court suspended parts of Ratha, Kunthea and Keoraksmey’s sentences. They would have soon been eligible for release, but continued to be held under the detention order issued in this case by the investigating judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court ... The charges of plotting and insulting the King, which carry a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, relate to comments allegedly made during private online meetings.

Ratha, Kunthea and Keoraksmey, who were 28, 22 and 19 years old at the time of their arrest, have been in prison for over 14 months. Sun Ratha, Leanghy and Chandaravuth, who were 26, 32, and 22 at the time of their arrest, have been detained for almost five months.