Cambodia

Prominent Rights Advocate Summoned for Court Questioning

He is accused of aiding Bun Rotha, a village activist who helped organize a land protest in Kratie province in May.

Hundreds of villagers prayed at the spirit's shrine, demanding the government to stop giving land concession to private companies in Cambodia's four provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Steung Treng and Kratie, file photo. Hundreds of villagers prayed at the spirit's shrine, demanding the government to stop giving land concession to private companies in Cambodia's four provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Steung Treng and Kratie, file photo.
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Hundreds of villagers prayed at the spirit's shrine, demanding the government to stop giving land concession to private companies in Cambodia's four provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Steung Treng and Kratie, file photo.
Hundreds of villagers prayed at the spirit's shrine, demanding the government to stop giving land concession to private companies in Cambodia's four provinces of Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Steung Treng and Kratie, file photo.
Sok KhemaraVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - Chan Saveth, a senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc, has received a summons from Phnom Penh Municipal Court to answer questions related to allegations he helped an alleged secessionist leave the country.

He is accused of aiding Bun Rotha, a village activist who helped organize a land protest in Kratie province in May that authorities have claimed was an uprising against the government.

That protest, which led to a violent crackdown by the authorities, and an alleged secessionist movement associated with it have been cited in the detention of Mam Sonando, the owner of Beehive Radio.

Chan Saveth, who is 44, said he appears to have been charged with crimes already, though the specific crimes remain unclear. “Based on the subpoena my wife read to me, it means I have been charged already, on what crime I don’t know,” he told VOA Khmer by phone.

He said he will answer the summons for Aug. 24, he said. “As a human right worker working to serve society, I will go to the court to answer before the court,” he said.

The summons appears related to a public speech by Prime Minister Hun Sen, in which he announced a human rights worker had aided Bun Rotha by providing shelter and about $75 to help him flee the country in the wake of a crackdown on the Kratie protest.

However, rights workers say Bun Rotha has never been officially charged, so even if he did receive aid from a group or individual, no crime would have been committed.

Lao Monghay, an independent political analyst, said the summons will create more fear among rights workers and hinder their work. “People will fear being charged and criminalized when they make friends with others,” he said.
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Land Victim Lawyer Seeks US Support on ICC Casei
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21 January 2015
A petition filed at the International Criminal Court in October 2014 alleged that a group of politicians, security chiefs and business magnates in Cambodia have involved in systematic illegal seizures of land from poor people. They committed various crimes as part of their campaign, which included murder, forcible transfer of populations, illegal imprisonment, persecution, and other inhumane acts, according to Richard Rogers of Global Diligence. VOA Khmer Men Kimseng interviewed Richard Rogers while he was in Washington DC last week to seek international support and explain to Cambodian diaspora community in the US about the case.

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