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Cambodia

    May 01, 2013

    Two men wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the killing of prominent trade union leader Chea Vichea in 2004 should be released immediately, Amnesty International said today, on International Labour Day.

    Following an unfair trial, Born Samnang, 32, and Sok Sam Oeun, 45, were sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2005 after being convicted for the murder a year earlier of Chea Vichea, the president of Cambodia’s Free Trade Union (FTU).

    After a campaign by human rights groups, the Supreme Court released the two men on bail on 31 December 2008 and ordered a retrial. But on 27 December 2012, four years after their provisional release, the Appeals Court upheld the original verdict and sent the pair back to prison, despite any new evidence being presented. They have appealed this latest decision.

    “Considering the seriously flawed criminal investigation, grossly unfair trial and lack of evidence, these two men should never have been convicted in the first place,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s researcher on Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.

    April 29, 2013
    Prisoner of conscience Mam Sonando has walked free from trumped-up charges designed to silence the Cambodian journalist. Mam Sonado is free thanks to you!

    Cambodia’s appeals court overturned the most serious anti-state convictions and the twenty year sentence against him, and suspended his remaining sentence.

    Amnesty International met with Mam Sonando in Phnom Penh, and he asked we share his thanks with Amnesty supporters:
     

     "To hear supporters outside the courtroom and to see supporters inside, including human rights organizations and diplomats, gave me such encouragement. They were supporting democracy and human rights, not just me.

    I want to thank everyone for joining together for my release. Thank you to Amnesty International’s members for protecting my freedom.

    March 14, 2013

    A Cambodian court’s decision to overturn anti-state convictions and a two-decade prison sentence against a prominent journalist is a positive step for freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Mam Sonando, 72, the owner of one of Cambodia’s few independent radio stations, was first convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2012 on charges of “insurrection”. Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned simply for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    But today the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh overturned the more serious convictions against Mam Sonando. Instead, he was given a five-year prison sentence for offences including “instigating illegal clearing and occupation of forest.” He has already been in prison for eight months and the rest of his sentence is suspended. He will be released this week.

    March 14, 2013

    Khmer Rouge Tribunal proceedings must continue without unnecessary delays, Amnesty International said following the death of former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary.

    Ieng Sary, 87, was standing trial for alleged crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes carried out during the period of Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia in the 1970s.

    The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, known also as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, announced his death on Thursday morning. The two remaining accused in the case, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, are both over 77 years old.

    Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, in Phnom Penh, said:

    “The news of Ieng Sary’s death will be difficult for the victims of the Khmer Rouge crimes who have waited so long for justice.

    “But Ieng Sary should not be presumed guilty of the crimes alleged, as the proceedings against him were not completed and there has been no verdict.

    “Amnesty International calls for an expeditious trial of the two remaining accused in this case, Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan, with fair trial rights respected.

    March 04, 2013

    The Cambodian authorities must free prisoner of conscience and government critic Mam Sonando, Amnesty International said ahead of his appeal hearing tomorrow in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.

    The 71-year-old was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 1 October 2012 for anti-state offences including instigating “insurrection”.

    “Mam Sonando’s 20-year prison sentence was inexplicable and baseless, with no evidence presented at the trial that he initiated a violent uprising against the government,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, who attended the original trial and verdict hearing.

    “Rather, he has been imprisoned simply for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and must be freed immediately and unconditionally.”

    Additionally in breach of the right to freedom of expression, some of his supporters have been told by local authorities to remove Mam Sonando Justice Calendars from display outside their homes. The calendars, which show the number of days Mam Sonando has been imprisoned, are a local campaigning tool by Cambodian activists.

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