abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

1 Jul 2024

Kate Lamb, Reuters

Cambodia: Former founder of Mother Nature criticise legal proceedings against environmental rights activists while HRW urge the govt. to drop case against 10 activists

"Cambodia environmental group slams 'politically motivated' trial", 1 July 2024

Members of a Cambodian conservation group are facing up to 10 years in prison on charges its founder says are politically motivated and part of a wider crackdown on government criticism – allegations authorities deny.

Ten activists from the Mother Nature group have been accused of plotting against the government, charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. Three are also charged with violating Cambodia's lese majeste laws, which carries a maximum five-year sentence, with the court expected to deliver verdicts on Tuesday…

Pen Bona, a spokesperson for the Cambodian government, denied the group was being targeted for its environmental activism or that the charges were politically motivated.

"The government has never taken action against those who criticize. The government only takes action against those who commit crimes," he said.

Founded by Spanish national Gonzales-Davidson …, Mother Nature has long campaigned against environmental destruction in Cambodia, highlighting deforestation, illegal sand mining and corruption in development projects.

Three activists involved in the trial have previously been jailed on incitement charges

The accusations of plotting against the state had not been clarified in court, he said, but three members were arrested after documenting suspected pollution run-off into the Tonle Sap River ...

The lese majeste charges relate to an internal Zoom meeting …

The activists have denied any wrongdoing, while Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the government to drop what it says is a case "intended to muzzle criticism of government policies".

"Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, like his father, Hun Sen, seems intent on jailing environmental activists instead of embracing their contribution to Cambodian society," said HRW's Bryony Lau.