PHNOM PENH —
The Koh Kong provincial court has delayed issuing a verdict for an environmental activist charged with illegal logging.
Ven Vorn has been detained since October 2015, in what rights advocates say has been delayed adjudication. A hearing was held for Ven Vorn on Wednesday, but no decision was made by the court.
“We hope the judge will consider the facts shown this morning with justice in mind,” said In Kongcheth, provincial coordinator for the rights group Licadho.
Ven Vorn, who had four witnesses speak in his defense, has denied any wrongdoing. Supporters say he did not cut down trees illegally, as accused, but had purchased lumber to build a headquarters.
Koh Kong has become a dangerous place for activists, who oppose the construction of a hydropower dam in Areng Valley, along with other activities, including illegal logging and sand dredging, which threaten the coastal mountains’ ecosystem.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has called such activists “extremists” who oppose development that will benefit millions of people.