Dangerous, much?

March 28, 2013

I’m sure everyone is really bored with me banging on about justice, or the lack of it, in Cambodia, but I do spend a lot of time worrying about it. And today was no exception.

The Phnom Penh Supreme Court Municipal Court has just rejected Yorm Bopha’s appeal against her three-year sentence on charges of inciting intentional violence.

Yorm Bopha and her son during her appeal

Yorm Bopha and her son during her appeal

Yorm, a 30-year-old mother of one, is a representative of the Boeung Kak Lake community, who came to prominence during the campaign to release 13 imprisoned Boeung Kak women last year. Which I’ve written about before.

Before her arrest she was threatened, harassed and intimidated and told by police that she was “on the blacklist”, and that she would be “in trouble soon”.

The charges against her were in connection with the beating of a suspected thief, but the real case against her is crystal clear – she, and the rest of the Boeung Kak community land activists are thorns in the side of the authorities, and need to be silenced.

The case against Yorm also involved her husband, Lous Sakorm, but, sending a clear signal that Yorm was the real target, her husband’s sentence was suspended last year and he walked free.

The prosecution’s theory appeared to be that Yorm and her husband had masterminded an assault on two individuals sitting in a drink shop and had then showed up to witness their plan in action.

Three of the witnesses called to testify against Yorm gave contradictory accounts of the events, and it was apparent that two of the witnesses could not be sure who Yorm or her husband were. It also emerged that one witness had gone for dinner that evening, but couldn’t recall who with, due to being completely smashed, although he did remember that Yorm Bopha was present at the incident.

Every single witness stated that Yorm Bopha and her husband had not been violent themselves, and had been present only after the fight had broken out, and only outside the shop. Yorm and her husband testified that they had been nearby chatting with a neighbour and gone over to the shop after hearing shouts.

Amnesty International has called Yorm a prisoner of conscience, and has called for her to be released immediately and unconditionally.

And so do I.

Yorm's mother not taking it brilliantly

Yorm’s mother not taking it brilliantly

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2 Responses to “Dangerous, much?”

  1. Gigi D said

    Unbelievable:(

  2. […] up to a crowd, pulling out a gun and firing it sounds fairly intentional to me. And 18 months? Yorm Bopha got three years for inciting violence, and she’s innocent. It’s enough to drive you mad if you […]

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