Cambodian activists sentenced to jail

The Cambodian activist group, Mother Nature, which recieved Sweden’s 2023 Right to Livelihood award, has had ten of its members sentenced to jailtime.

The members was sentenced to six to eight years in jail for allegedly plotting against the Cambodian Government. Additionally they have been sentenced for insulting the king of Combodia, which is illegal in the country.

According to the media Global Voices ths decision has been condemned by human rights advocates in and out of Cambodia.

Mother Nature as a group is know for often being youth led and focused on environmental issues. They often do their campaigns online.

As the members was sentenced other activists from the organization demonstration. After the verdict more than 50 civil society groups made a joint statement expressing their oppinion on the result:

“Silencing environmental defenders and characterising their peaceful advocacy as a threat to the state is a mockery of justice. This reliance on trumped-up charges to malign Mother Nature’s activities as attacks against the state reflects a failure to understand that jailing environmental and youth advocates only harms the country’s future. We should be honouring these activists, not imprisoning them.”

A government spokesperson, Pen Bona, afterwards rejected the accusation that the right of free speech was at stake after the verdict:

“I want to stress that here in Cambodia many people express their opinions or offer criticisms. This can be seen in both conventional and social media. Those who offer constructive criticism or commentary on social issues do not face any legal action. Legal action is only taken against those who violate Cambodian law.”

Currently there is an online petition trying to gather enough signaturs to get the ten jailed activists released.

Source: Global Voices

About Lærke Kobberup

Lærke Kobberup is a Journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Lærke Kobberup

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