The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday sentenced 15 people
accused of illegally occupying state land and destroying protected forest up to
nine years, with the heaviest sentence going to a former provincial official.
Meas Savoeun, the former deputy governor of Preah Vihear
province, was given nine years in prison and a fine of 80 million riel, about
$20,000, for his role in leading a number of villagers to deforest land in
Preah Vihear province.
He was also ordered to pay 20 million riel, or $5,000, in
compensation to the provincial forestry administration of the Ministry of
Agriculture. Fourteen other people received sentences between one and seven
years, for their roles in the land case.