Civil Society Groups Demand Koh Kong Land Activists’ Release 

Koh Kong activists were detained on June 29. Photo from Adhoc

PHNOM PENH—As many as 51 civil society organizations on July 6 issued a joint statement requesting that charges be dropped against 10 land activists in Koh Kong Province and that they be released unconditionally.

The  land activists were arrested  on June 29 and later charged with incitement. Nine of them remain in custody and, according to the civil society groups, the court has no clear basis for detaining them.

The land activists did nothing wrong, the civil societies said in their statement: They only raised concerns, expressed their opinions non-violently, and travelled to petition and protect their land and community members.  

"We call for an end to the persecution of Cambodian land activists by dropping the charges against them and for their immediate and unconditional release from pre-trial detention," the groups said in the statement.

 Deputy Prosecutor and Spokesman for the Koh Kong Court Ray Phirum said that, since the activists had lawyers to defend them, the case must be resolved through legal procedures.

 "They have lawyers and also met [with them] during the detention,” he said during an interview on July 6. “If it is understood that the accusation and detention are baseless, the lawyers can address it in accordance with the law and present it to the court.”

Phirum added that the civil society groups that compiled the statement were outsiders and could not know the details and regulations involved.

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