CCHR Human Rights Defenders Alert - Phnom Penh, 4 December 2012
Banteay Meanchey activist summonsed for questioning for the second time on charges of an unspecified nature
On 23 October 2012, Battambang Provincial Court issued a warrant for San Samneang to appear for questioning by the Investigating Judge on 4 December 2012 at 2:00 pm. However, San Samneang only received the warrant on 3 December 2012, leaving him with only one day to meet with his lawyer and to prepare for the questioning.
This is the second time that San Samneang has been called for questioning at Battambang Provincial Court. On 30 January 2012, he was summonsed to appear before the Prosecutor for questioning relating to charges of intentionally causing damage and intentional acts of violence, under Articles 410 and 217 respectively, of the Cambodian Penal Code 2009. The charges remain the same, however the summons received yesterday contained no information regarding the nature, date or location of the purported act, or the specific legal basis for the charges.
San Samneang stated that the charges may relate to a gathering he organized in December 2009 in relation to a land dispute between local business woman, Theth Phary, and community members from two villages straddling the Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provincial border: Boeung Pi village, Lvea Commune, Bavel district, Battambang and Prasat Rang, Takong Commune, Malai district, Banteay Meanchey.
The gathering was in response to an incident in December 2009 in which Theth Phary sent workers, together with armed police and military personnel, to harvest and collect rice in Boeung Pi village that was said to have been planted by villagers on the disputed land. Mr. San Samneang stated that the villagers in Boueng Pi farmed and had ownership over the land since 2002.
If found guilty of intentional violence under Article 217, San Samneang could be punished by imprisonment of one to three years and a fine of two million to six million Riels. If found guilty of intentionally causing damage to property under Article 410, he risks imprisonment of six months to two years and a fine of one million to four million Riels.
For more information, please contact CCHR Human Rights Defenders Project Coordinator Suon Bunthoeun via telephone at +855 (0) 12 48 35 46 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.