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21 Mar 2020

Human Rights Watch

Cambodia: HRW condemns harassment & intimidation of four environmental defenders & calls on authorities to cease using abusive acts

"Cambodia: Environmental Activists Harassed", 20 March 2020

Cambodian authorities should end the politically motivated investigations of four environmental activists looking into illegal logging in Kratie province, Human Rights Watch said …, the International Day of Forests. The authorities should investigate a Taiwanese-Cambodian company whose employees allegedly detained the activists, including the prominent environmentalist Ouch Leng, and assaulted one of them…

“The Cambodian authorities should end their abusive investigation of four environmental activists who for years have confronted illegal logging activities at great personal risk,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should stop using politicized courts and repressive laws to silence activists and to protect corrupt officials and businesses.”

... Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Think Biotech …, seeking their response to the incident and any steps they may have taken to address the situation. The company has not responded.

..., the police arrived at the compound and took the four activists to the Sambor district police station, holding them overnight…, the Kratie provincial prosecutor questioned Ouch Leng, and the next day questioned the other three activists.

The provincial prosecutor ordered the four men released … without charges but indicated he would continue investigations into unspecified crimes they allegedly committed…

The prosecutor suggested that the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force’s legal status was in jeopardy and ordered Ouch Leng to submit paperwork to the Interior Ministry to clarify the organization’s directorship. Leng has headed CHRTF since 2013 and registered the organization with the Interior Ministry before 2015,…