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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Armed with a wide range of truncheons – from electric to ‘homemade’ sticks discreetly wrapped in newspaper – police and thugs attacked demonstrators, passersby and journalists indiscriminately after a defiant demonstration at Freedom Park during Labour Day.

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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Armed with lotus flowers and incense sticks, opposition party member of parliament Mu Sochua was stopped by barb-wired barricades and police when trying to reach Freedom Park for a seventh time. Phnom Penh’s designated protest area has been closed since the Cambodian government banned all public gatherings and demonstrations following January’s deadly clashes.

 

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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Prime Minister Hun Sen made his first appearance since he voted during Cambodia’s general elections. Addressing the media he called for people to keep calm, and said to welcome an international investigation on the controversial elections.

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Days before nine million people were to vote at general elections, human rights organisations and observers highlighted a number of irregularities, marked by fake indelible ink and unregistered voters. Riots erupted in Phnom Penh after polls closed.

 

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

Opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha toured Siem Reap during a rally that lasted for hours and finished at Cambodia’s iconic temple of Angkor Wat. Supported by thousands on trucks and motorbikes, the CNRP leaders addressed the crowds in front of the temple, calling for Cambodians to take control over their iconic heritage site – Angkor Wat’s ticketing control has been leased to Sokimex, a company owned by Vietnamese descent business man Sok Kong.

 

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

One week before national elections, opposition leader Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia after four years of self-imposed exile. Against the odds, an estimated 100,000 supporters welcomed him in Phnom Penh where he delivered his first speech in years.

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

33-year-old Boeung Kak resident Hek Chan Reaksmey, who was over 2 months pregnant, miscarried after clashes with the police on Monday during a demonstration in front of City Hall.

On the second day of protests, more than 40 villagers demanded solutions to their basic right to housing, and for fellow land rights activist Yorm Bopha’s release. With no response from City Hall, the villagers made their way to the Prime Minister’s house to ask for his intervention.

While Boeung Kak villagers repeatedly clashed with the police in an attempt to reach the Prime Minister’s house, supporters of ruling party CPP rallied a few hundred meters away. It is election time after all.

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Four days after human rights defender and journalist Mam Sonando was released, co-defendants Touch Ream, Khan Sovann and Phorn Sreoun were also released from prison.

The four men who still claim to be innocent, were sentenced last year on insurrection charges after a land-grab related incident in Kratie, which led to the death of a 14 year-old girl. Sonando, Ream, Sovann and Sreoun carried 20 years, five years, three years and 10 months sentences respectively. However, on March 14, the Appeal Court reduced Ream’s and Sovann’s sentences, and announced radical changes to Sonando’s offenses and a reduction of his sentence to time served.
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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Human rights activist Mam Sonando was released after months in prison. He was sentenced in 2012 to 20 years on insurrection charges, after his appeal, the court announced changes to his offences and reduced his sentence to time served.

While co-convicted Touch Ream, Khan Sovann and Phorn Sreoun were scheduled to be freed with Sonando, a slower process did not allow their release. Unable to join the celebrations, Ream’s, Sovann’s and Sreoun’s families returned to Human Rights NGO Licadho’s offices to wait for further news on their release.

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