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Rights Commission Urges Release of Land Protestors

The Asian Human Rights Commission Friday called on Sihanoukville authorities to release seven people jailed following land dispute protests earlier this year.

The Hong Kong-based human rights group also called on the municipal courts to withdraw an appeal to re-arrest six other protestors, who were released following court proceedings.

A Sihanoukville prosecutor said the courts were going ahead with charges, a move critics say demonstrates cooperation between judicial officials and local business interests.

Prosecutor Meas Sopheak said he filed his case based on regulations.

"Let the Court of Appeals decide further," he said. "I did what I'm supposed to do. That is my obligation."

Ham Sunrith, who represents the land protestors for the rights group Licadho, said he was sure his clients were innocent.