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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US Seeking Stronger Ties as Cambodia’s Political Reforms Move Forward​i
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28 August 2014
A senior US diplomat says the country is looking to strengthen ties with Cambodia, now that the opposition has ended a boycott of the National Assembly. “We want to have a good relationship with the nation of Cambodia, the people of Cambodia,” Scot Marciel, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asia and Pacific Bureau, told VOA Khmer in an exclusive interview. “We have an interest in a Cambodia that is successful, democratic, more prosperous, enjoying good health, and good education. Again, this is mostly up to the Cambodian people but we want to be supportive because it’s in our interest for Cambodia to be successful.” The US has made a recent diplomatic resurgence in Asia, where China’s influence continues to grow.​ Marciel, who is visiting the country, said Wednesday that Cambodia’s moves toward electoral reforms are encouraging. “I think what we’re looking to see, like the Cambodian people, the people here have made it clear that they would like to see some more reforms some progress on some of the challenges that the Cambodia faces, and we feel the same way,” he said. “We are hopeful that the government and the parliament as it is now seated can move ahead on some of the reforms that people here have called for. We think that would be a positive step.” (Sok Khemara, Washington)

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