UN official vows to help Tep Vanny

Source: Khmer Times

Tep Vanny supporters hold a ceremony for her yesterday. KT/Mai Vireak

UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith has promised to discuss jailed land activist Tep Vanny with the government.

In a ceremony to mark one year in jail for Ms Vanny, about 30 Boeung Kak community residents yesterday asked Ms Smith to intervene and request Ms Vanny’s release.

Song Sreyleap, a Boeung Kak resident, said the arrest of Ms Vanny was unjust because she was only protesting for social justice over a land dispute.

Ms Rhona, who attended the ceremony, told reporters she also met Ms Vanny in prison.

“I met your mother this morning very briefly. She misses you very much,” Ms Smith told Ms Vanny’s daughter at the ceremony.

“I was not able to have a confidential meeting with her, I just met her briefly,” she added.

Ms Smith said that she had been following the case of Ms Vanny and would continue to raise it when meeting government officials during her tour of the nation.

“We will follow the case carefully,” she said. A joint statement from more than 50 groups on Monday called on the government to drop all charges against Ms Vanny and release her.

A Boeung Kak community representative and prominent land activist, Ms Vanny was arrested in August 2016 while she and the community conducted a “Black Monday campaign” against mass evictions in her neighbourhood.

She was charged with using violence against Daun Penh security guards, near Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house in March 2013, and sentenced to two and a half years.

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