VOA Khmer’s Men Kimseng interviews Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, who was released from prison Friday after serving eight months in prison, on charges that he says were politically motivated and without evidence. He was accused of fomenting a secessionist movement in Kratie province last year, but rights groups say the charges from the court came only after he publicly criticized Hun Sen. Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer in an interview his freedom was a small thing, but that he would continue broadcasting news to Cambodians and would continue his work with the Association of Democrats, a civic group he says aims at informing people about rights and democracy. He is not planning on joining any political parties, despite broad support from the public. On his release from prison Friday, supporters outside the jail chanted, “hero,” after the courts accused him of stirring a secessionist movement last year. The Appeals Court on Thursday said it was dropping some of the most serious charges against him, but it gave him a five-year suspended sentence on charges related to deforestation that were added by the prosecutor. His lawyer says he will appeal this new sentence.
The owner of Beehive Radio was released from prison on Friday, ending eight months of incarceration. Mam Sonando told VOA Khmer in an interview his freedom was a small thing, but that he would continue broadcasting news to Cambodians and would continue his work with the Association of Democrats, a civic group he says aims at informing people about rights and democracy. He is not planning on joining any political parties, he said, despite broad support from the public. On his release from prison Friday, supporters outside the jail called him a “hero.” VOA Khmer's Say Mony reports from Phnom Penh.
The parents of some 300 students in Kampong Cham province are calling for the release of jailed Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, who had been raising funds to build a school in their village before his arrest in July. Mam Sonando, 71, owns Beehive Radio, which broadcasts Voice of America programming, and is the head of a civic group called the Association of Democrats. He is widely considered innocent of charges related to fomenting a secessionist movement in Kratie province last year, charges that rights groups say came only after he publicly criticized Prime Minister Hun Sen. (Sok Khemera, VOA Khmer)
Overseas supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party are organizing to push for the opposition's success in the July parliamentary polls in Cambodia. A major fundraiser will be held March 23 by the US-based National Rescue Foundation, with other supporters overseas to follow suit. VOA Khmer's Men Kimseng recently spoke with activist Touch Vibol to discuss the aims of the foundation and the concept of political fundraising, which is not well known in Cambodia.
The Cambodian Court of Appeals on Monday began a hearing in the case of jailed Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando, as hundreds of supporters gathered outside the court demanding his release. Mam Sonando is serving a 20-year prison sentence on charges he helped foment a secessionist movement in Kratie province, charges that rights workers say have little evidence and were leveled at him after his public criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen. VOA Khmer's Heng Reaksmey reports from Phnom Penh.
Social injustice, impunity and the abuse of Cambodian women will be featured in a new graphic novel, “The Beauty Curse." Veteran journalist Eric Pape has taken the case of Tat Marina, a former karaoke star and victim of an acid attack, as the subject of the illustrated novel, finding a new way to examine acid attacks, which continue to plague modern Cambodia. Pape told VOA Khmer's Men Kimseng that the graphic novel, which is seeking funding through a Kickstarter campaign, will tell her story to a wider audience, adding to the media coverage and a documentary on the attack.