Two prominent activists were jailed Wednesday on charges of incitement related to their participation in the ongoing “Black Monday” campaign, while a Spanish academic was set to be deported for her involvement in the demonstrations, officials said.
On Monday, rights activists Tep Vanny and Bov Sophea were arrested as authorities broke up a peaceful vigil in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood, attended mostly by women and children holding lotus flowers and banners.
Marga Bujosa Segado shakes the hand of a friend after being pushed into a police van outside her home in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood on Wednesday evening. (Hannah Hawkins/The Cambodia Daily)The next morning, Marga Bujosa Segado, a Spanish university researcher, was detained by the Interior Ministry’s immigration department for her involvement in the Black Monday campaign but was released after questioning.
Municipal court spokesman Ly Sophana said that Ms. Vanny and Ms. Sophea were charged on Wednesday afternoon with incitement to commit a felony under an article in the Criminal Code that also refers to crimes that “disturb social security.”
“Judge Pech Vicheathor has opened the trial of suspects Tep Vanny and Bov Sophea and, according to the procedure, they are ordered to appear to face charges of incitement to commit a felony under Article 495,” Mr. Sophana said.
How the women may have incited a felony or caused social instability remained unclear, but the government has said that the Black Monday campaign is illegal and tantamount to an “urban rebellion.” Black-clad activists have gathered for the past 15 Mondays calling for the release of four human rights workers and an election official who were jailed on charges widely viewed as politically motivated.
At about 6 p.m. Wednesday, Ms. Segado exited her apartment in Boeng Kak and was bundled into a immigration police van by about 10 officers.
“They expelled me from the country because they don’t want me to join in demanding the freedom for the activists,” Ms. Segado said before she was pushed into the vehicle.
Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the immigration department, said Ms. Segado would be deported at about 9 p.m. tonight via Phnom Penh International Airport, both for her participation in Black Monday protests and for not having a work permit.
“She is a foreigner and joined demonstrations and protested against us. There are tens of thousands of foreigners who live in Cambodian and who behaves like her? There is only one,” Major General Heisela said.
“When they had demonstrations, we often saw her face, especially during the Black Monday campaign, when she dressed in black,” he said. “We can’t let her live in the country because her acts affect our public security.”
odom@cambodiadaily.com, wright@cambodiadaily.com, sokhean@cambodiadaily.com

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