Boxing Day hearing set for jailed activists

KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA, Phnom Penh Post, Dec. 13 2012

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Tim Sakmony (left) and Yorm Bopha lean against a window at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh in November 2012. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has scheduled the hearing of two land activists from the Boeung Kak lake and Borei Keila communities, Yorm Bopha and Tim Sakmony, for the day after Christmas, a lawyer for the women said yesterday.

The women have been in pre-trial detention at Prey Sar prison for more than three months.

Twenty nine-year-old Bopha was arrested on September 4 and detained shortly thereafter, charged with “intentional violence”.

One day later, 65-year-old Borei Keila activist Sakmony was similarly arrested and detained in a whirlwind fashion on charges of making a “false declaration”.

Both women maintain their innocence.

Ham Sunrith, defence lawyer for the pair from the human rights group Licadho, told the Post yesterday that the municipal court will hear the cases against his clients on December 26 at 2pm.

“Phnom Penh Municipal Court officials sent the documents about the date of the hearing on Yorm Bopha last week, and I was informed of the case of Tim Sakmony today [Wednesday],” he said.

“For the next hearing, we will try the best to find justice for them,” he added.

Bopha’s husband, Lous Sakhorn, said yesterday that his wife’s body had become a shadow of her former self. Bopha, who Sakhorn says suffers from heart disease and must take regular medication that he delivers to her twice a week, has shrunk from 56 kilograms to just 44 kilograms while in prison.

He said that his wife told him two months ago that she would commit suicide in the prison if prison officials forced her to thumbprint documents proclaiming her guilt, a tactic Sakhorn said was regularly attempted on Bopha.

“My wife and I did not do as they accuse us,” Sakorn said.

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