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PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

From early hours of the morning, Kratie and Borei Keila villagers joined supporters of Mam Sonando and turned up to the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh to show their support and demand his prompt release. The 71 year-old journalist and owner of Beehive Radio Station, was arrested on July 15 and charged with inciting an alleged secessionist movement in Kratie after a land-grab related incident which led to the dead of a 14 year-old girl.

Having had the road blocked in front of the Municipal Court by the police, protestors were restricted to demonstrate a few hundred meters away from the building. Soon enough, villagers clashed with the police after they tried to push their way through the man-made barricade shouting once again for justice.

Among the crowd, Mu Sochua, a prominent leader from the opposition Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), actively supported the protestors. Addressing the police officers, Ms. Sochua continuously questioned their morals pointing out that their low salaries did not justify betraying their own people.

Considering the recent increase in the number of high profile cases where defendants have gone to jail  after remarkably short hearings, it came as a surprise that the court did not reach a decision on the Sonando case within hours of the trial. The hearing is now expected to extend for days, despite the feeling by many, that a verdict has already been made by the court.

 

See also Day 2, Day 3 & Day 4

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Mu Sochua, a prominent leader from the opposition party SRP addresses the crowd in support of Mam Sonando on the first day of his trial at the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

An impressive display of armed forces were deployed to keep the crowd under control during a protest near the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh on the first day of Mam Sonando’s trial. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

A young girls looks up at a police through the shields during a protest near the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

A man wearing a t-shirt with an image of Mam Sonando stands in front of the police during a protest near the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh on the first day of Sonando’s trial. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

Mu Sochua, a prominent leader from the opposition party SRP during a confrontation with the police on the first day of Sonando’s trial at the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

Villagers clash with the police during a protest near the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh on the first day of Mam Sonando’s trial. © Erika Pineros 2012

 

Later on the day, the Boeung Kak community joined the protestors to claim for the release of Mam Sonando, Yorm Bopha and Toem Sakmony near the Municipal Court in Phnom Penh on the first day of Mam Sonando’s trial. © Erika Pineros 2012

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See also Day 2, Day 3 & Day 4