Human Rights

Prosecutor Urges Dropping Some Charges in Beehive Radio Case

Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer outside the court that he was happy to see two charges dropped and that he expects to be released eventually. Photo by Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer. Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer outside the court that he was happy to see two charges dropped and that he expects to be released eventually. Photo by Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer.
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Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer outside the court that he was happy to see two charges dropped and that he expects to be released eventually. Photo by Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer.
Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer outside the court that he was happy to see two charges dropped and that he expects to be released eventually. Photo by Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer.
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Heng ReaksmeyVOA Khmer
PHNOM PENH - The Cambodian Court of Appeals on Wednesday concluded a hearing in the case against Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, but a decision is not expected until later this month.

Appeals Court prosecutor Heng Rith urged the court to drop two of four charges: inciting people to bear arms and insurrection and illegal interference in public duties.

The remaining charges, fomenting opposition to government officials and opposition to legal authority, should remain, Heng Rith said. And a third charge, for illegal logging, should be added, he told the court Wednesday.

Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer outside the court that he was happy to see two charges dropped and that he expects to be released eventually.

Defense lawyer Sar Sovan said he disagreed with the additional charge under the forestry law, but he agreed that the other charges should be dropped.

Beehive Radio carries programming from the Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and other international agencies.

Mam Sonando was accused of fomenting anti-government activities in Kratie province, following a government crackdown there in May 2012. He was arrested in July that year.

Rights observers say that security forces were in fact breaking up a violent protest over land by villagers there and that Mam Sonando had charges leveled against him only after publicly criticizing Prime Minister Hun Sen.

A decision from this week’s appeals hearing is expected March 14.
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