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13 Nov 2021

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea, Khmer Times

Cambodia: Phnom Penh Appeal Court uphold incitement conviction of Mother Nature's co-founder who is environmental rights defender

"Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson’s sentence upheld by Appeal Court", 13 November 2021

Phnom Penh Appeal Court … handed down its verdict in absentia in the case of Mother Nature director Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, accused masterminding incitement of people against authorities and the government, upholding the lower court’s decision.

Presiding Judge Phlong Samnang said that Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, a Spanish national, was sentenced in absentia by Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 20 months in prison … for crimes allegedly committed … in Cambodia. The lower court sentenced him to 20 months in prison, fined him about $1,000 and ordered his arrest.

Judge Samnang said that Gonzalez-Davidson appealed the decision through his defence lawyer.

Gonzalez-Davidson was charged with “accomplice of incitement to commit a felony or to disturb social security” under Articles 29, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code, said Judge Samnang.

According to the court document, in this case, other four people: Thon Ratha, 29; Chea Kunthin, 33; Long Kunthea, 22; and Phuon Keoreaksmey, 21; were also sentenced by the court to 18 to 20 months in prison each and fined $1,000 each.

Gonzalez-Davidsons’s lawyer Sam Chamroeun told … that the verdict is unjust for his client because he did not commit the crimes as accused.

He said that his client had merely given his ideas to the young people to participate in protecting their own environment in order to protect the country’s environment, nature and the peoples’ interests.

Chamroeun added that giving advice or counselling is not a crime or incitement.