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14 Sep 2021

Sorn Sarath, CamboJA

Cambodia: Nine villagers involved with a land dispute with company are charged with using violence; 21 others are released

"Twenty-one villagers released as nine people sent to prison for using violence against authorities", 14 September 2021

Nine villagers who were arrested … while protesting an ongoing land dispute over a new airport in Kandal were sent to pre-trial detention …, while 21 other detainees were released.

Kandal governor Kong Sophorn told … that five men and four women will face legal action for allegedly using violence against authorities during the protest.

More than 100 people in Boeung Khyang​ commune protested … after local authorities blocked the road leading to their farms and allowed the company to start clearing their farmland to make way for the new airport — despite the fact that many families are still seeking fair compensation for their property.

Thirty people were arrested on Sunday ahead of what witnesses describe as widespread police raids, beatings and arrests. Provincial authorities accused them of violently attacking police officers…

… Song Sokrin, who went to see her brother Song Pichra at the Kandal provincial police office, said he was ​among nine people to be charged by authorities.

“My brother joined the protest against farmland clearing by the company and was arrested. Now he was sent to prison, we just protect our land but we are imprisoned” she said.

Hundreds of families have been locked in disputes for more than three years over the $1.5 billion airport project developed by Overseas Cambodia Investment Corp (OCIC), which is owned by the well-connected Oknha Pung Kheav Se.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of monitoring at rights group Licadho, said it was regrettable that the protest that took place on Sunday led to violence and the arrest of 30 people…