PHNOM PENH – Even before a Cambodian judge sentenced land rights activist Tep Vanny to prison, her fellow campaigners said her fate had already been sealed.
Vanny, who fought the evictions of thousands of residents from lakeside land in Phnom Penh to make way for a luxury real estate project, was sentenced to 2½ years on Thursday for her role in a protest outside Prime Minister Hun Sen’s residence in 2013.
She was found guilty of inciting violence and assaulting security guards while trying to deliver a petition to Hun Sen on the land dispute.
The conviction came despite eyewitness testimony that neither Vanny or other protesters had committed acts of violence. It was criticized by campaigners as another step in a crackdown on dissent.
“The courts do not use their conscience. They just wait for orders from powerful men,” said Vanny, a mother of two in her mid-30s, during a recess before her verdict. “It’s easy to use the court. They are using my case to intimidate other people … and scare others to not protest.” Tiếp tục đọc “Amid land grabs and evictions, Cambodia jails leading activist”