PHNOM PENH —
The Court of Appeals on Monday upheld guilty verdicts against 11 land activists who were rapidly tried and convicted after a protest in the streets of Phnom Penh in November.
Most of the activists face between six and nine months jail. They were arrested as they protested City Hall’s failure to safeguard their Boeung Kak neighborhood from flooding and forced evictions, by putting beds in the middle of the street.
Among them was the outspoken activist and community organizer Tep Vanny, who was sentenced to a year in prison for her role in the demonstration.
Defense attorney Sam Sokunthea said that the verdict was unjust and that she plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.
About 100 protesters rallied outside the court in support of the activists, calling for their release.
Rights workers say the arrests are politically motivated and aimed at deterring further protests.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring supervisor for the rights group Licadho, said the politicization of the case would continue to anger people and lead to more demonstrations.