Cambodia: Release Tep Vanny, arbitrarily detained for two years
Geneva, Paris August 15, 2018 – Land rights defender Tep Vanny must be immediately and unconditionally released, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, an FIDH-OMCT partnership, reiterated today, on the two-year anniversary of her detention. Tep Vanny is currently incarcerated at Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 2 (CC2) prison in Phnom Penh.
“The prolonged and arbitrary detention of Tep Vanny reflects the severe repression that human rights defenders and civil society members continue to face in Cambodia. The international community must demand that Cambodian authorities immediately and unconditionally release Tep Vanny and cease all acts of harassment against her,” said FIDH Secretary-General Debbie Stothard.
Tep Vanny has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of members of the Boeung Kak community and played a key role in the ‘Black Monday’ campaign, which called for the release of fellow human rights defenders. She has been arbitrarily detained since August 15, 2016, when she was arrested for participating in a peaceful ‘Black Monday’rally.
On August 22, 2016, she was convicted of ‘insulting of a public official’ (Article 502 of the Criminal Code), and sentenced to six days in prison. However, after serving her prison sentence, Tep Vanny remained behind bars because authorities resurrected outstanding charges against her, related to previous protests in which she had taken part.
On September 19, 2016, Tep Vanny was sentenced, along with three other Boeung Kak community activists, to six months in prison on charges of ‘insulting of a public official’ and ‘obstructing of a public official’ (Articles 502 and 504 of the Criminal Code), in a case related to a November 2011 protest that called for a resolution to the Boeung Kak land dispute.
On February 23, 2017, Tep Vanny was convicted on charges of ‘intentional violence with aggravating circumstances’ (Article 218 of the Criminal Code), and sentenced to a further 30 months in prison for having participated in a March 2013 protest that called for the release of fellow activist Yorm Bopha.
In both cases, Tep Vanny’s appeals were rejected by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. All cases against Tep Vanny were based on trumped-up charges and featured various infringements to her right to a fair trial.
“Tep Vanny is a courageous woman and determined human rights defender who did not commit any crime and should not have spent a minute behind bars. She must be immediately released and compensated for the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment to which she has been subjected,” said OMCT General Secretary Gerald Staberock.
FIDH: Ms. Maryna Chebat (French, English) – Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
View this original press release HERE.