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4 Feb 2022


Cambodia: Two land rights activists are released on bail while one remains in detention facing 'stealing property' charges after live-streaming a land dispute

"Lor Peang community activists granted bail after live-streaming land conflict", 4 February 2022

Activists in Kampong Chhnang province called on the court to drop intentional damage charges against them after the court released two out of three of them on bail …

Hong Kimhak, provincial court spokesman, confirmed the court decided to release Oum Sophy and Snuon Nhoeun on bail, though Tuon Seng was sent to pretrial detention…, Kimhak said the three were charged with intentionally damaging property. The trio was arrested after Sophy and Nhoeun live-streamed a dispute between villagers over land.

Nhoeun, who is married to Sophy, told … that he is disappointed with the charges, which were baseless, and said he believed the arrest was in retaliation for live-streaming the dispute.

“They have questioned us, related to taking pictures and live-streaming without permission but on paper they have accused us of intentionally causing damage to property,” he said.

“I can’t accept what they have charged us with because we did nothing to damage property, I just took photos,” Nhoeun said.

Sam Chankea, provincial coordinator at rights group Adhoc, decried the heavy handed response in the latest conflict, which is not related to the ongoing one.

“I think that it is meant to break the spirit of the land activists, especially as both [Sophy and Nhoeun] are prominent activists who have a running dispute with high-ranking officials,” he said.

“A society full of hatred or discrimination, will have no justice and peace,” Chankea said.

He said that authorities have seemingly targeted activists known for protesting…