Relatives and neighbors sang, cried and pleaded outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday for the release of the 14 women and one man arrested last week for protesting against CPP Senator Lao Meng Khin’s controversial Boeng Kak real estate project.
Worried by reports that the World Bank was preparing to lift a funding freeze it imposed on Cambodia last year because of the thousands of families evicted from Boeng Kak to make way for the project, NGOs in turn called on the World Bank to keep the freeze in place.
Thirteen of the detained women were sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail on May 24 on what human rights groups have called “trumped-up charges” stemming from their peaceful protest against the senator’s project.
Another man and woman were arrested outside the courthouse and remain in pretrial detention.
The arrests and sentencing have sparked outrage from local and international rights groups alike, as well as near-daily protests with banners calling on the government to “Free the 15.”
Outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday, the sons and daughter of the jailed women taped photos of their mothers to their foreheads, clutched lotus flowers between their palms and sang for their freedom. …
Khuon Narim and Zsombor Peter, P. 23
http://www.camnet.com.kh/cambodia.daily/ (Note: Infrequently Updated.)