Supreme Court sets date for Yorm Bopha hearing

By Khouth Sophak Chakrya, Phnom Penh Post, Tue, 5 November 2013

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The Supreme Court will hear the case of Boeung Kak activist Yorm Bopha later this month, a court official said yesterday.Chheang Vantha, the clerk handling the 30-year-old mother’s case, said the court will hear Bopha’s final appeal on November 22.

“The Supreme Court has set this date. It is the duty of the prosecutor to notify her prison about this,” he said.

Boeung Kak representative Tep Vanny, who was among a group of Bopha’s supporters who gathered outside the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh yesterday to inquire about the case, said she had been informed of the date of the hearing.

“I believe the Supreme Court will provide full justice for her,” Vanny said. “She needs to be released and reunited with her family because she has not committed any wrongdoing like what has been alleged.”

Bopha was arrested in September last year on what rights groups say were baseless charges designed to silence her and her community’s land-rights activism.

She was locked in pre-trial detention at Prey Sar prison.

In December, Bopha was convicted on a charge of intentional violence after the court ruled she had ordered a screwdriver and axe attack on two motodops at Boeung Kak.

She was sentenced to three years in prison, a sentence that was effectively reduced to two years in June.

Rights groups and her supporters have constantly pointed to what they say was a lack of evidence in Bopha’s trial and the fact the alleged victims were drunk at the time of the incident.

During an appeal hearing in June, a judge suggested the testimony of Bopha’s two alleged victims was contradictory to original accounts used to charge her.

Bopha became well-known to authorities last year when she regularly protested in support of 13 women from Boeung Kak who were arrested and sent to Prey Sar after a three-hour trial. They were later released.

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