press release

Human Rights Commissioner criticizes conviction of Cambodian human rights defender


Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (2 October):

“The conviction of independent radio station‑owner and human rights campaigner Mam Sonando and his fellow activists is another setback for democracy in Cambodia. Yesterday Mam Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in jail by Phnom Penh Municipal Court for alleged offences relating to “rebellion and secession”. I share the view of many other observers that the charges were politically motivated and the trial did not comply with minimum rule‑of‑law standards. The conviction raises serious doubts as to the independence of the Cambodian judiciary.

I am also deeply concerned by the increasingly repressive response to those who voice criticism in Cambodia. Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press are fundamental rights that Cambodia has undertaken to uphold.

The developments in Cambodia are particularly worrying with a view to the parliamentary elections in July 2013. I call on the Cambodian Government to ensure that the elections are free and fair. All parties must have the same opportunities.”

Background information:

Mam Sonando, the 70 year‑old owner of the independent Beehive Radio station and founder of the Association of Democrats, was arrested in July 2012 in connection with the activities of a citizens’ group in Kratie Province protesting against the dispossession of local land users under a licence granted to an agro‑business company. A 14 year‑old girl died during the forcible eviction of residents by armed security forces.

Mam Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 1 October 2012 for offences relating to “rebellion and secession”.

share page:

About us

Entry & Residence

Foreign & European Policy