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Nine Guilty in Sihanoukville Land Dispute

Sihanoukville Municipal Court handed jail sentences of up to eight months to residents found guilty of assaulting a security detail in the coastal city in April, during a clash over the forced eviction of 105 families from their Mittapheap District homes.

Sihanoukville Municipal Judge Tang Sunlay read the sentences in a public hearing, giving one suspect 8 months. He sentenced a second suspect in absentia to 8 months. Seven defendants were given 75 days. Five more had charges dropped against them.

The lawyer for the 13 defendants, Ham Sunrithy, from the rights group Licadho, maintained the innocence of his clients.

"My clients, according to the case documents and direct questioning… did not commit offenses that inflicted wounds on the police," he said.

Residents clashed with police, soldiers and military police, who carried batons, electric prods, shields and teargas on their detail to clear out the residents.