Cambodian king grants pardons to land rights activists

Cambodian king grants pardons to land rights activists

Tep Vanny commemoration
The Boeung Kak community on Wednesday (Aug 15) during a ceremony to commemorate Tep Vanny’s two-year anniversary in prison. (Photo: Ouch Sony)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni granted pardons to land rights activist Tep Vanny and three other activists on Monday (Aug 20).

According to a letter dated Aug 20 and posted on government affiliated media Fresh News, the king pardoned prominent Boeung Kak community land activist Tep Vanny, 37, who was held at Prey Sar prison. 

She was released shortly after the pardon and was greeted by her supporters outside the prison.

The other three activists, Heng Mom,41, Bo Chhorvy, 42, and Kong Chantha, 43, were also given pardons. 

The pardons were made in response to the request from Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Tep Vanny's release came five days after the Boeung Kak community a ceremony to commemorate Tep Vanny’s two-year anniversary in prison, during which family members and activists appealed for her release at that time.

She was sentenced to six months in 2017 on charges with insulting and obstructing public officials during a protest in 2011. 

Tep Vanny was also sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison in early 2018 on charges with “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” relating to a 2013 protest, according to Phnom Penh municipal court deputy prosecutor Kuch Kimlong’s release order.

His department got the king’s letter for the release of Tep Vanny around 8pm and it was sent to the prison immediately, said Be Tea Leng, deputy general director of the prison general department of the Interior ministry.

“We received the royal decree at 8pm and was released at around 8.30pm,” said Tea Leng.

Source: CNA/ec

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