Rights group calls for release of two Mother Nature activists

A group of about 20 human rights and environmental organizations have demanded the Cambodian government to release two Mother Nature activists who have been held in pre-trial detention for two months with no trial date scheduled, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Tuesday (Nov 14).

The local and international organizations which include Adhoc, Licadho and Cambodian Centre for Human Rights said in a statement released on Tuesday that the two activists, Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy, have been wrongfully detained on spurious charges and are in poor health conditions.

Both were arrested on September 13 after they filmed two sand-bearing ships on the open ocean. They were charged with incitement and making unauthorized recordings of a person in “a private place”.

The two vessels were about 4 kilometres from a Special Economic Zone belonging to tycoon and CPP Senator Ly Yong Phat.

Mother Nature has documented and criticized the commercial sand dredging operations on the coast of Cambodia for years. The organization was removed from the Interior Ministry’s registry on September 5 at its request due to repeated harassment of its staff members.

Former Mother Nature activist Lim Kimsor said she and the families of the detainees were allowed to visit the pair only twice a month – on the 15 th and 30 th of each month.

Court spokesman Un Sovan Theany said judges were now questioning the two activists, but he didn’t know when the hearing would commence.