The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Appeal of Sam Rainsy case heard

The Kingdom’s Appeal Court has heard the case of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two villagers from Svay Rieng province who were convicted earlier this year in connection with a protest against alleged Vietnamese encroachment on Cambodian territory.

Judge Kun Leang Meng said the verdict had been delayed until next Wednesday due to limited time and the “complicated” nature of the case.

In January, Svay Rieng provincial court sentenced Sam Rainsy to two years in prison for racial incitement and destruction of public property after a protest last year in which he allegedly led villagers in uprooting Vietnamese border posts.

Meas Srey, 40, and Prum Chea, 41, received one year in jail each for their alleged roles in the incident. During a hearing of roughly four hours at the Appeal Court, both villagers denied playing a direct role in uprooting the posts.

“Sam Rainsy just held the post, but he did not uproot it, and neither did I,” Meas Srey said.
“A lot of people pulled on it.”

Under questioning from government lawyer Chan Sok Yeang, Prum Chea said he was unaware of the official status of the border posts.

“I only know that the posts were on my land,” he said.

Choung Choungy, Sam Rainsy’s lawyer, said the opposition leader had only been doing his duty as a parliamentarian in bringing attention to the border issue.

“My client had only two aims: to respect the people’s rights and defend territorial integrity,” Choung Choungy said. Chan Sok Yeang said, however, that Sam Rainsy’s protest last year was an attempt at unlawful incitement that came as the government was preoccupied with its dealings with Thailand.

“The government has been worrying about the western border, but he has made problems at the eastern border with Vietnam,” Chan Sok Yeang said
Read more!

Thailand and Cambodia to meet on border again in Hanoi : PM

Brussels - Thailand and Cambodia will hold talks on border dispute on the sidelines of the Hanoi Summit late this month, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday.

The Thai premier said he had discussed with Hun Sen about the unsettled border dispute. The two countries would prepare information related to the conflicts and would hold talks again when they meet on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Hanoi between October 28 and 30.

Abhisit was speaking after meeting his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) summit, currently being held in Brussels until October 5.

"The framework to tackle the problem is in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Thailand and Cambodia on demarcation for land boundary 2000. We must look back to the intention (in the MoU)", State-run Thai News Agency quoted Abhisit as saying.

The talks (in Brussels) is a good thing and frequent talks will help prevent misunderstanding that could lead to a possible clash which no one want to see, Abhisit said.

He noted that the bilateral relations now are gradually improving as the heads of both governments could hold talks and put efforts to drive concerned agencies to foster healthy relations which is considered a positive sign
Read more!

Union claim more than 600 dismissed

Union leaders have said that more than 600 garment workers have been dismissed from their jobs in connection with unrest in the industry last month, a figure disputed by industry representatives.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Coalition of Cambodian Apparel Workers Democratic Union said 131 union representatives were still suspended pending court rulings on the legality of strikes last month to protest the garment industry’s new minimum wage.

Six hundred and one workers who protested the suspensions of these representatives have seen their contracts terminated because they ignored court orders requiring them to return to work within 48 hours, the statement said.

But Ken Loo, secretary general of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, said just 358 workers had seen their contracts terminated, and that several factories had recently allowed workers to return based on court orders.

“I don’t know whether they’ve updated their figures, but in any case, they likely inflated the numbers anyway, just like there were 200,000 striking workers, which we all know there weren’t,” Loo said.

The CCAWDU statement said that 13 factories had failed to comply with court orders allowing workers and union representatives to return to their jobs.

“These factory owners are ignoring the courts,” said Un Visal, labour dispute officer at CCAWDU.

GMAC and union representatives signed a memorandum of understanding last week calling for greater use of the collective bargaining agreements that ban strikes and lockouts throughout their terms. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA AND JAMES O’TOOLE

Read more!

Sex trend surprising

The vast majority of former child sex workers surveyed on behalf of a local NGO said their main clients were Cambodian men.

The executive director of the NGO that commissioned the study described the finding as “very surprising”.

A report detailing the findings of the study states that paedophiles “tend to be Cambodians, rather than foreigners, contrary to the usually held assumption that paedophilia is a Western problem and that Cambodians are not engaged in such activities”.

Chin Chanveasna, executive director of End Child Prostitution, Abuse and Trafficking in Cambodia, said that local demand for commercial sex with children was often overlooked, as NGOs and other stakeholders focused on foreigners.

In the study, done earlier this year and presented at a conference on trafficking, all but one of 43 former child sex workers surveyed in Phnom Penh said their regular clients were Cambodian men.

Of the 13 respondents who reported having sold their virginity, 68 percent said their clients had been Cambodian, according to the study.

Chin Chanveasna said the study, which also surveyed 47 Cambodian men from “male-frequented establishments” such as beer gardens and snooker clubs, found many local men preferred child sex workers.

“Cambodian men prefer beautiful, fair-skinned and younger-looking sex workers – basically minors,” he said, and added that they were often willing to pay a premium for virgins.

“Especially the powerful, the rich people, spend thousands of dollars to have sex with children,” he said.... read the full story in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story online from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.

Read more!

Five break out of Jail

Five inmates at Kratie provincial prison escaped in the early hours of morning with the aid of a saw.

Four remain on the run, including three killers.
Thim Narin, a provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, which monitors conditions at the prison, say the five inmates used the saw to cut through the wooden walls of their room before escaping over the wall.

The prison break took more than four hours, she said, and added that it was unclear how the inmates obtained the saw. Eight other prisoners who were sharing the room with the escapees did not attempt to flee.

A prison official said yesterday that three of the escapees had been convicted of intentional murder. The official, who could not provide details of the case against the men, identified them as: Yen Nara, 26, who was sentenced to 18 years; Thoun Nal, 22, who was sentenced to 15 years; and Saom

Soknang, 27, who was sentenced to 10 years. All three remain at large.

Chhoung Seng Hak, the provincial police chief, said Ith Samean – a 35-year-old escapee who was being held in pretrial detention on robbery charges – was caught.... read the full story in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story online from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.
Read more!