Four activists from Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak neighborhood were sentenced to six months in prison on Monday over a 2011 protest that turned violent when police and security guards were sent in to break it up.
The activists were charged with insulting and obstructing public officials days after the protest, but the case remained dormant until last month, when it was reactivated amid a government crackdown on the opposition and other critics.
Activists Kong Chantha, left, and Bo Chhorvy gesture from inside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday morning. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)Presiding Judge Ly Sokleng handed down the guilty verdict shortly after 11 a.m. on Monday.
“The court decides to sentence the four suspects—one, Heng Mom; two, Tep Vanny; three, Kong Chantha; four, Bo Chhorvy—to six months in prison for insulting and using violence against the security guards,” he told the court.
Ms. Mom was convicted in absentia. Ms. Vanny, who was being held in provisional detention over this and a 2013 case, was put in a van and driven through a crowd of about 40 fellow activists on her way to Prey Sar prison.
Ms. Chantha and Ms. Chhorvy, who remain free, attempted to get in the vehicle with Ms. Vanny but were blocked by prison guards and eventually joined the other activists demonstrating outside the courthouse.
During the protest in front of City Hall on November 28, 2011, activists hurled high-heeled shoes, rocks and other objects at Tuol Kok district security guards and riot police who had moved in to disperse them.
Ms. Vanny is also awaiting trial over a charge of intentional violence stemming from a 2013 protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s mansion.
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