Friday, December 28, 2012

Scapegoats Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun Unjustly Back in Jail



December 27, 2012 - We, the undersigned organizations, condemn in the strongest terms the unexpected decision by Appeals Court Judges Chhoun Sunleng, Seng Sivutha and Khoun Leang Meng to uphold the Phnom Penh court’s grossly unfair verdict against Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun. The two were arrested by Ministry of Interior police officers in the hearing room and sent back to jail earlier this morning. 


The pair, widely believed to have been framed as scapegoats for the 2004 killing of unionist Chea Vichea, had been freed in December 2008 by a courageous Supreme Court, in a decision which ordered further investigation into the killing amid extensive evidence of their innocence. 

“This morning’s verdict has left us speechless”, said Moeun Tola, Head of CLEC Labour Program. “The Appeals Court decision defies any sense of justice and rule of law.” 

The swift appeal hearing, which took place on November 7, 2012, offered no new evidence of Sam Oeun and Samnang’s guilt – as expressly ordered by the Supreme Court. The judges nevertheless found them guilty, relying on former police officers’ written testimonies. In doing so, the judges decided to systematically dismiss and ignore evidence and testimonies in favor of the two, including: 
- The sole credible eye witness to the killing – the newspaper seller standing next to Chea Vichea when he was murdered - who stated that Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were not the killers she saw on that day. 
- The then lead cop of the murder investigation, former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov, who – after falling out of grace - stated that Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun were not the killers. 
- Eye witnesses who placed Born Samnang in Prey Veng province, 60 kilometers away from Phnom Penh, at the time of the killing. 
- Torture committed by police officers against Born Samnang to extort the initial confession, which he quickly retracted. 
- A witness stating that, at the time of the killing, Sok Sam Oeun was staying with him and some friends. 

All of the above was enough for the Supreme Court to free the two. In the absence of any credible evidence proving Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun’s guilt, it should have been enough to find them not guilty. 

“This verdict adds to the many tragedies which occurred in 2012, making it the worse year in over a decade when it comes to human rights and rule of law.”, said LICADHO Director Naly Pilorge. “We urge the Supreme Court to quickly reverse today’s decision and put an end to this gross farce by finding the pair not guilty of a crime they simply didn’t commit.” 

“King Father Norodom Sihanouk once declared the pair innocent. The fact that the court unjustly sent the pair back in jail amid King Father’s mourning period is disgraceful” said Sar Mora, President of CFSWF. 


Cambodian Confederation Unions (CCU)
Cambodian Food and Service Worker Federation (CFSWF)
Cambodia's Independent Civil-servants Association (CICA)
Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Cambodian Worker Center for Development (CWCD)
Cambodian Youth Network (CYN)
Collective Union of Movemrnt of Workers (CUMW)
Coalition of Cambodian Farmer Community (CCFC)
Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC)
Equitable Cambodia (EC)
Housing Rights Task Force (HRTF)
Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
LICADHO Canada (LC)
National Trade Unions Coalition (NTUC)
People’s Action for Change (PAC)
Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
The Building and Wood Workers Trade Union Federation of Cambodia (BWTUC)
Union Federation of ASEAN Workers (UFAW)

For more information, please contact:
• Mr. AM Sam Ath (Khmer), LICADHO Technical Supervisor, 012-327-770 
• Mr. Moeun Tola (English, Khmer), Head of CLEC Labour Program, 066-777-056


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Statement: Regrets the Unfair Judgment on Boeung Kak Lake Residents


STATEMENT
“CHRAC Regrets the Unfair Judgment on Boeung Kak Lake Residents”
Phnom Penh, 27 December 2012

The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee (CHRAC)—a coalition of 21 NGO members—is so disappointed at the decision today by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to sentence Ms. Yorm Bopha, a land and housing rights activist and former Boeung Kak Lake resident, to three years in prison.  Her husband, Lous Sakorm, was convicted of the same crime and handed a three year suspended sentence, while her two brothers, Yorm Kamhong and Yorm Seth, were tried in abstentia, and handed three year sentences pending their arrest after a warrant was issued today. The four have each been ordered to pay 30 million Riels in compensation, a total of $15,000 for both victims.  The trial was marked by irregularities, while the integrity of the decision is seriously undermined by the lack of evidence presented at the court.  Instead, the conviction of Yorm Bopha highlights the judicial harassment faced by activists willing to oppose the authorities and powerful private companies in the pursuit of their land rights.

Background
On 04 September 2012, Yorm Bopha, a popular Boeung Kak community representative, was accused of assaulting a suspected thief – allegations she has denied. She was detained at Prey Sar prison for more than 100 days until her trial on 26-27 December 2012, at which she was handed a 3 year sentence and a large fine, under Article 218 of the Penal Code (“intentional violence with aggravating circumstances”).

Yorm Bopha played a central role in the Boeung Kak Lake residents’ campaign to protect their homes and gain adequate compensation after the government leased their land to development firm Shukaku Inc. She was also at the forefront of the campaign for the release of 15 female former lake residents who were detained arbitrarily in May 2012 following a peaceful protest. Yorm Bopha has refused to be silenced, despite reporting on a number of occasions that she has faced intimidation and harassment by authorities, and the long sentence handed to her and the hefty fine cannot be divorced from her activism.


The Trial
The judicial process against Yorm Bopha has been flawed from the beginning, when she was arrested one month after the crime was alleged to have been committed, and then questioned without a lawyer present. During the trial, the judge failed to take into account the argument presented by the defense, instead relying on evidence that was flimsy to say the least.

Three of the witnesses called to testify against Yorm Bopha told contradictory accounts of the events. It was later apparent that two of the witnesses could not be sure who Yorm Bopha or her husband was, only that they had seen both men and women at the incident. It also emerged that one witness had gone for dinner that evening, but could not recall who with due to his state of inebriation, but could however recall that Yorm Bopha was present at the incident. With such grounds for reasonable doubt, the conviction of Yorm Bopha and prison sentence she has received calls into question the competence of the Cambodian judiciary.

Conclusion
CHRAC calls on the higher courts to overturn the judgment of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in order to release her freely, in case her appeals are to be lodged. In a striking juxtaposition between the judicial treatment of rich and poor, Chhouk Bandith, the former Bavet City governor, saw charges dropped against him by Svay Rieng provincial court citing insufficient evidence this week in a case whereby he was accused of shooting 3 protesters at a strike outside a garment factory in February. This was despite numerous witness accounts and his alleged confession of the incident. The detention of Yorm Bopha, convicted on exceptionally weak evidence in a case that must be seen in light of her activist work, serves to demonstrate that justice in Cambodia is the preserve of the rich and powerful, while poorer Cambodian who stand up for their rights can expect harassment and imprisonment as a matter of course.

For more information, please contact:

·         Mr. Sok Sam Oeun      Executive Director of CDP                            Tel: 012 901 199
·         Mr. Ny Chakrya          Head of Monitoring Section, ADHOC         Tel: 011 274 959
·         Mr. Neil Loughlin        Technical Assistant, ADHOC                       Tel: 092 648 318
·         Mr. Suon Bunsak         Executive Secretary of CHRAC                    Tel: 092 344 357

Thursday, December 13, 2012

សារាចរថ្មី ដើម្បីបិទអាជីវកម្មសាល​អ៊ិនធឺណេតកាហ្វេ New Circular Aims to Shut Down Internet Cafes

សារាចរថ្មី ដើម្បីបិទអាជីវកម្មសាល​អ៊ិនធឺណេតកាហ្វេ
សម្ព័នខ្មែរជំរឿន និងការពារសិទ្ធិមនុស្ស (លីកាដូ)
Map produced by LICADHO showing 500-meter buffer zones from education institutions (black squares)
ថ្ងៃ១៣ ខែធ្នូ ឆ្នាំ២០១២ - រាជរដ្ឋាភិបាល​បានចេញនូវ​សារាចរថ្មីមួយដោយបញ្ជាឲ្យ បិទអាជីវកម្មសាល​អ៊ិនធឺណេតកាហ្វេ ដែលមានទីតាំង​ក្នុងចំងាយ ៥០០ម៉ែត្រ ពីគ្រឹះស្ថានអប់រំ និង សាលារៀន (បទបញ្ជា ដែលអាចស្ទើរ​តែហាមឃាត់ការធ្វើអាជីវកម្ម​ជាច្រើន នៅកណ្តាលរាជធានី ភ្នំពេញ ប្រសិនបើត្រូវបានអនុវត្ត)។

សារាចរ ដែលត្រូវបាន​ចេញផ្សាយ ដោយក្រសួងប្រៃសណីយ៍ និងទូរគមនាគមន៍ នៅថ្ងៃទី១២ ខែវិច្ឆិកា ឆ្នាំ២០១២ ក៏បានផ្តល់នូវការ​រឹតបន្តឹតថែមទៀតផងដែរ ដោយមិនកំណត់​ត្រឹមតំបន់ដែល ប៉ះពាល់ដល់​សាលារៀនឡើយ។ រាល់អាជីវកម្មសាល​អ៊ិនធឺណេតកាហ្វេ ត្រូវតម្រូវឲ្យ​មានការហាម ប្រាមនូវការលេង “រាល់ល្បែង​ហ្គេមគ្រប់ប្រភេទ”។ សារាចរនេះ បានធ្វើឲ្យសកម្មភាព​លេងល្បែង ហ្គេម មានកម្រិតស្មើគ្នា​នឹងការប្រព្រឹត្តិបទល្មើស។

អ្នកនាង ណាលី ពីឡូក នាយិកាអង្គការសិទិ្ធមនុស្ស លីកាដូ បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា៖ “កិច្ចខិតខំប្រឹងប្រឹងយ៉ាងខ្លាំងក្លា ដើម្បីបិទនូវកន្លែង ដែលមានផ្តល់​នូវសេវាអ៊ីនធឺណេត​ថោកសមរម្យ និងងាយស្រួល​រកបាន សម្រាប់ការប្រើប្រាស់​អ៊ិនធឺណេតនៅក្នុងប្រទេសកម្ពុជា មិនត្រឹមតែគ្មានមូល ហេតុផ្លូវច្បាប់​ប៉ុណ្ណោះទេ ថែមទាំងជា​បំណងយ៉ាងច្បាស់ក្នុងការបិទនូវផ្នែកខ្លះ ​នៃការទទួលបាន ប្រភពព័ត៌មាន​ដែលឯករាជ្យរបស់​ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋពីគេហទំព័រថ្មីៗ និងប្រពន្ធ័ផ្សព្វផ្សាយ​ពត៌មានសង្គម ដូចជាហ្វេសប៊ុក”។

ទោសបញ្ញត្តិ​សម្រាប់ការបំពានសារាចរ គឺជាការបង្ក្រាប ការរឹបអូស​យកនូវសម្ភារៈ និងការ ឃាត់ខ្លួន ប្រសិនបើបទល្មើស​ព្រហ្មទណ្ឌត្រូវបានប្រព្រឹត្ត។ គ្មានមូលដ្ឋានផ្លូវច្បាប់​ណាមួយសម្រាប់ កំណត់ទោសបញ្ញត្តិ ដោយផ្អែកទៅ​លើទីតាំងហាង ឬក៏ការលេងល្បែងហ្គេម​នៅលើកុំព្យូទ័រឡើយ។ យោងតាមមាត្រា១ នៃច្បាប់ព្រហ្មទណ្ឌ​នៃព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជាចែងថា លិខិតគតិយុត្តិ ដែលបាន ចេញ ដោយស្ថាប័ននីតិប្រតិបត្តិ គឺគ្រាន់តែអាច​កំណត់នូវបទល្មើសលហុ ដែលអាចពិន័យបាន​ដោយ ការផាកពិន័យប៉ុណ្ណោះ (ដោយមិនមានឃុំខ្លួន ឬរឹបអូសយកទ្រព្យ​សម្បត្តិឯកជនឡើយ)។ ហើយការ សម្រួលដល់ការទទួល​បានសម្ភារៈរូបថតអាសអាភាស និងសកម្មភាព​បទល្មើសផ្សេងៗ ដែលត្រូវបាន ពិពណ៌នានៅក្នុងសារាចរ គឺបានកំណត់នៅក្នុង​ច្បាប់ព្រហ្មទណ្ឌ និងច្បាប់ផ្សេងៗទៀត នៃព្រះរាជា ណាចក្រកម្ពុជារួច​ទៅហើយ។

អ្នកនាង ណាលី ពីឡូក បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា៖ “សារាចរនេះ មិនមានលក្ខណៈ​ចាំបាច់នោះទេ ហើយមិន​ត្រឹមត្រូវទេ។ អ្នកនាងបានបន្ថែមទៀតថា៖ “បទល្មើសដែលលើកឡើងក្នុង​សារាចរនេះ គឺជា អំពើខុសច្បាប់​រួចជាស្រេចទៅហើយ។ អ្វីដែលសេសសល់ គឺជាការបង្កើតឡើង​ជាឧបសគ្គ ដែលមិន សមហេតុផល​ក្នុងប្រើប្រាស់អ៊ីនធឺណេត ដោយដាក់បន្ទុកមក​លើម្ចាស់អាជីវកម្មស្របច្បាប់ និងអតិថិជនរបស់​អ្នកទាំងនោះ។

សារាចរនេះ មិនបានបង្ហាញពីនីតិវិធីរបស់តុលាការក្នុងការបិទ និងរឹបអូស ដែលនេះជារំលោភ ដោយផ្ទាល់ទៅលើ​រដ្ឋធម្មនុញ្ញកម្ពុជា ដែលការពារសិទិ្ធកាន់កាប់​លើទ្រព្យសម្បត្តិឯកជន និងបន្ថែម កាតព្វកិច្ចផ្លូវច្បាប់ ដើម្បីធានានូវដំណើរការ​នេះ។

អ្នកនាង ណាលី ពីឡូក បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា៖ “ប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ិនធឺណេតខ្លួនឯង មិនមែនជាបទ លើ្មស ឬក៏មិនមែនជាវិធីពិសេសក្នុង​ការប្រព្រឹត្តបទលើ្មសទេ។ សិស្សានុសិស្ស​អាចទទួលបានពត៌មាន ដ៏ច្រើនលើសលប់​ពីប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ិនធឺណេត ដែលពត៌មានមួយចំនួន​អាចមានសារៈសំខាន់ក្នុង​ការសិក្សា របស់អ្នក​ទាំងនោះ។ នេះ ដោយមិនរាប់ទាំងការចាំបាច់​នៃភាពប៉ិនប្រសប់នៃការ​ប្រើប្រាស់កុំព្យូទ័រ សម្រាប់គោលដៅ​ការងារ​នាថ្ងៃអនាគតផងនោះ”។

សារាចរ បានបន្ទរឡើងនូវការរិតត្បិត​ដូចគ្នានៅក្នុងប្រទេស​វៀតណាម និងចិន (ជាប្រទេសពីរ ដែល​ល្បីល្បាញខាងមិនសូវ​មានសេរីភាពលើការប្រើប្រាស់​អ៊ិនធឺណេត)។ វាក៏បានបន្តពីសារាចរដ៏ចំរូង​ចំរាសមួយផ្សេងទៀត ដែលត្រូវបានចេញ​នៅដើមឆ្នាំនេះ ដោយតម្រូវឲ្យហាង​អ៊ិនធើណេតកាហ្វេថត និងប្រមូលពត៌មាន​លំអិតអំពីអតិថិជន​របស់ខ្លួន។ អង្គការសិទិ្ធមនុស្ស លីកាដូ មានការព្រួយ​បារម្ភថា សារាចរទាំងនេះ គឺជាការបង្ហាញឲ្យ​ឃើញជាមុននៃបទបញ្ញត្តិ ដែលនឹងអាចត្រូវ​បានគេដាក់ឲ្យមាន​នៅក្នុងច្បាប់​ប្រឆាំងបទល្មើស​តាមប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ិនធើណេត​នាពេលខាងមុខ ដែលច្បាប់នេះ នៅជាសេចក្តី ព្រាងនៅឡើយ​នាពេលបច្ចុប្បន្ន ហើយដែលរាជរដ្ឋាភិបាល​បានបន្តរក្សា​ជាការសម្ងាត់ ទោះជាមានការ ទាមទារម្តង​ហើយម្តងទៀតឲ្យបង្ហាញចេញ​ក៏ដោយ។

អ្នកនាង ណាលី ពីឡូក បានមានប្រសាសន៍ថា៖ “នៅក្នុងប្រទេស ដែលមានប្រព័ន្ធផ្សព្វផ្សាយ​បែបប្រពៃណី ដូចជា​ស្ថានីយ៍ទូរទស្សន៍ និងវិទ្យុភាគច្រើនស្ថិតក្នុងដៃរបស់គណបក្សកាន់អំណាច ដូចនេះសមត្ថភាពក្នុងការ​ទទួលបានសំលេង ដែលឯករាជ្យ និងចំបាច់ តាមរយៈ​ប្រព័ន្ធអ៊ិនធឺណេត គឺជាការចាំបាច់”។ អ្នកនាងបានបន្តទៀតថា៖ “មធ្យោបាយ​ដើម្បីទទួលបានពត៌មាន​តាមរយៈប្រព័ន្ធ​អ៊ិនធឺណេត និងនិយាយដោយ​សេរីនេះ គួរតែ​ត្រូវបានការពារ មិនមែនធ្វើការវាយ​ប្រហារនោះទេ”។

សម្រាប់ពត៌មានបន្ថែម សូមទាក់ទង:
• Mr. Am Sam Ath, Technical Supervisor Tel: (+855) 012-327-770 [Khmer]
• Ms. Naly Pilorge, Director of LICADHO Tel: (+855) 012-803-650 [English, French]


Download full statement (PDF;English)
មើលសេចក្តីថ្លែងការណ៍ជាភាសាខ្មែរ (PDF;Khmer)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ADHOC staff were summoned before Phnom Penh court on Dec 24, 2012


STATEMENT: New Summons for Chan Soveth; ADHOC Reiterates that He Has Done Nothing Wrong

Phnom Penh, 11 December 2012 — The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) expresses its deepest concerns over the new summons issued by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 30 November 2012. Mr. Chan Soveth, one of ADHOC’s most senior investigators, is summonsed to appear before Investigating Judge Chhe Virak on 24 December at 2:30pm. He is accused of “providing assistance to the perpetrator” of a crime, an offense punishable by one to three years in prison pursuant to article 544 of the Cambodian Criminal Code.
This is the second time in four months that Chan Soveth has been summonsed by the court. Before more details on the specific information Judge Chhe Virak is looking for are disclosed, ADHOC would like to stress that it has always conducted its activities in accordance with the law. One of the most respected human rights workers in Cambodia, Soveth has always carried out his work in a manner consistent with Cambodian law—investigating human rights violations, organizing trainings and providing legal assistance to individuals and communities affected by land conflicts.
ADHOC calls on Embassies, development partners, civil society organizations and the media to gather in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 24 December 2012 at 2:30pm, in support of Soveth and human rights work in Cambodia.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Thun Saray, President, 016 440 044
Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of Human Rights Program: 011 274 959