PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — In a move that has prompted outrage in Cambodia and beyond, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on May 5 sentenced five activists from the environmental group Mother Nature Cambodia. Arrested in Phnom Penh on Sept. 3, 2020, Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoraksmey and Thun Ratha were charged with incitement to commit a felony and were then denied bail in October 2020 as the judge deemed the environmentalists a serious threat to social stability. (Left to right) Long Kunthea, Thun Ratha and Phuon Keoraksmey were arrested September 2020 and convicted May 5, 2021. Images from LICADHO (CC BY-SA 4.0). The three had been campaigning to save Phnom Penh’s lakes, of which more than 60 percent had been filled in by December 2019, but it was Mother Nature Cambodia’s planned one-woman protest march that saw the three activists arrested. Long Kunthea, 19 at the time of her arrest, had – with the help of Keoraksmey, 22, and 29-year-old Ratha – planned to walk from Wat Phnom to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s mansion in Phnom Penh where she hoped to discuss the risks associated with the lakes’ infilling. This peaceful, one-woman march that never took place was decried by authorities as felonious and all three were placed in pre-trial detention. In their bid to raise awareness about the threats to the biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods provided by Boeung Tamok – Phnom Penh’s largest lake – the three activists spent eight months behind bars awaiting trial. The trial was initially set…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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