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Human Rights Workers Detained for Several Hours Sunday

At least two human rights activists were detained by authority on Sunday for several hours in Takeo, according to Ou Virak, the spokesman for the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR).

The CCHR spokesman told VOA that the rights workers were collecting fingerprints to send to the King asking him to help win the release of the three human rights activists who are being held in jail awaiting trial.

Ou Virak said the authority released the two CCHR workers a few hours later but did not return the 300 plus signatures the human rights workers had collected.

Human rights activists and members of the opposition party plan to march to the royal palace with the signatures to ask for his majesty's intervention in the release of the three human rights activists and two government critics on border issues.

Cambodian government officials said the fingerprint collection and the plan to march to the royal palace is not the right thing to do because it could cause disruption and public disorder.

Takeo authority confirmed the detention of the human rights workers but declined to elaborate.

CCHR president Kem Sokha, his deputy Pa Nguon Tieng and Yeng Virak, Director of the Cambodian Legal Education Centre were recently arrested on charges of defamation.

The international community including the United States and the United Nations condemn the government's actions and call the government's actions a step backward in the democratic process in Cambodia.

The Cambodian government said the arrest and detention of the human rights activists are not the attempt to crack down on human rights and free speech but is a sign that Cambodia is implementing the rule of laws.