Cambodia

Mam Sonando ‘Strong’ in Incarceration, Rights Advocate Reports

Mam Sonando has been in jail since his arrest in July and was handed a 20-year prison sentence earlier this month.

Cambodian supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered to demand the release of local radio station owner Mam Sonando, who is accused of leading a secession, file photo. Cambodian supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered to demand the release of local radio station owner Mam Sonando, who is accused of leading a secession, file photo.
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Cambodian supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered to demand the release of local radio station owner Mam Sonando, who is accused of leading a secession, file photo.
Cambodian supporters of Mam Sonando, one of Cambodia’s most prominent human rights defenders, protest in front of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Some 300 supporters gathered to demand the release of local radio station owner Mam Sonando, who is accused of leading a secession, file photo.
Kong SothanarithVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Jailed Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando is “keeping strong” in prison, a rights activist said Thursday.

Ou Virak, head of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, met with Mam Sonando, 71, Thursday afternoon.

Mam Sonando has been in jail since his arrest in July and was handed a 20-year prison sentence earlier this month for allegedly helping foment a secessionist movement, charges Amnesty International has called “outrageous.”

“His health is still strong,” Ou Virak said. “And he is very strong mentally.”

Beehive Radio is one of the few independent broadcasters remaining in Cambodia, with most TV and radio outlets supportive of the ruling government. Beehive airs programming from the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Radio France International and others.

During Thursday’s visit, Mam Sonando asked that his supporters continue to rally for his release and maintained his innocence, Ou Virak said. “The truth is still the truth,” he said, quoting Mam Sonando.

Ou Virak was joined by Mam Sonando’s wife, Din Phanara, who said he will later this month appeal Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision.
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Conservation International works in more than 30 countries around the world to help protect and preserve our planet. In Cambodia, the group is working with local communities to protect several endangered species, including something called a "hairy-nosed otter." The otter was once thought to be extinct, but it was discovered recently in Cambodia. VOA Khmer's Poch Reasey recently interviewed two officials from the agency, Peter Stonier and John Martin, to discuss conservation in Cambodia.

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