Human Rights

Court Wraps Up Hearing in Case Against Beehive Radio Owner

Mam Sonando argued that had he planned to topple the government as accused, he would not have returned from the US.

A Cambodian supporter holds a banner reading: "The court system must be respected by the public not for..." as she sits with other supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered for prayer for local radio station owner Sonando,  who has been held in pre-trial detention for almost two months for insurrection charge, during his court appearance. A Cambodian supporter holds a banner reading: "The court system must be respected by the public not for..." as she sits with other supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered for prayer for local radio station owner Sonando, who has been held in pre-trial detention for almost two months for insurrection charge, during his court appearance.
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A Cambodian supporter holds a banner reading: "The court system must be respected by the public not for..." as she sits with other supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered for prayer for local radio station owner Sonando,  who has been held in pre-trial detention for almost two months for insurrection charge, during his court appearance.
A Cambodian supporter holds a banner reading: "The court system must be respected by the public not for..." as she sits with other supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, in front of Phnom Penh Municipal Court in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered for prayer for local radio station owner Sonando, who has been held in pre-trial detention for almost two months for insurrection charge, during his court appearance.
Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Phnom Penh Municipal Court  on Friday finished a week of hearings in the secessionist trial of Beehive Radio operator Mam Sonando and is expected to issue a verdict Oct. 1.

Nine others were put on trial alongside Mam Sonando this week, with another four tried in absentia, for allegedly leading a secessionist plot against the government.

The court says that plot led to a violent clash between villagers and security forces in Kratie province in May.

That clash opened a governmental crackdown on what it said was a separatist movement, leading to the arrest of Mam Sonando and others, as well as a subpoena for Chan Saveth, a prominent rights worker, for assisting the alleged plotters.

The last day of the trial included closing remarks of both the prosecution and defense who argued over a crossbow and air gun prosecutors displayed as evidence of a separatist agenda. Defense also argued against including evidence that Mam Sonando was invited to discussions in the US with an anti-government group.

Mam Sonando argued that had he planned to topple the government as accused, he would not have returned from the US.

Court Wraps Up Hearing in Case Against Beehive Radio Owneri
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VOA Khmer
15 September 2012
Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday finished a week of hearings in the secessionist trial of Beehive Radio operator Mam Sonando and is expected to issue a verdict Oct. 1. Nine others were put on trial alongside Mam Sonando this week, with another four tried in absentia, for allegedly leading a secessionist plot against the government. The court says that plot led to a violent clash between villagers and security forces in Kratie province in May. VOA Khmer's Heng Reaksmey reports from Phnom Penh.

Meanwhile, demonstrators outside the court continued to call for Mam Sonando’s release. Supporters who belong to his Association of Democrats said they were involved in a democracy group, not a separatist movement.

“No, no secession,” said Thlong Pal, a demonstrator outside the court. “He demanded we abide by the law.”

Ou Virak, director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, who attended the proceedings and gave details to the media, said neither witnesses nor evidence was presented linking Mam Sonando to the Kratie incident.

“I hope that the court’s decision is based on the evidence and facts,” he said. “Not on politics.
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Yearlong Political Deadlock Endsi
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22 July 2014
Cambodia’s political deadlock has ended. For nearly a year, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party has refused to join the government, calling for electoral reforms in a system it says was deeply flawed. Following nearly five hours of meetings between top opposition officials and Prime Minister Hun Sen, that deadlock has ended. The two sides finally reached agreement on a formula for selecting the National Election Committee, which the Rescue Party has said was biased toward the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Hun Sen and Rescue Party President Sam Rainsy emerged from talks Tuesday smiling and shaking hands. “Victory,” Hun Sen told reporters after the meeting. “You can all applaud.” (Heng Reaksmey, Phnom Penh)

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