Yesterday, Tuesday 17th August, 100 villagers from Kompong Thom came to the court to give support to Lem Nath and her family. However, the police stopped the villagers at various places on their route. They decided to go back home, after the lawyer explained the legal procedures to them.
Mu Sochua and her team have been working forcefully on this case, last week obtaining the help of a local lawyer. This week, they also contacted the Human Rights Organization, ADHOC, to provide further monitoring support to Lem Nath and her people. The lawyer has now appealed to the court, asking for Lem Nath to be released, emphasizing the lack of a warrant held by the police at the time of the arrest. The chief of the provincial court replied today that the authorities will response during a week.
Mu Sochua and her team will continue to press, tracking information with the monitor from ADHOC, raising funds and bringing awareness to the case within Cambodia and outside.
Their appeal has now reached the international community. Fund raising activities are also being held abroad including in Canada. Meak Sakada, a student who had previously followed Mu Sochua on her political campaign trail in Battambang, has already helped raising a total of $250.
We are continuing to raise funds for Lem Nath’s legal fees. If you would like to donate to her case, please follow this link to donate to Strey Khmer, the organization which arranged the press conference and handles the donations.
Also, for further analyses of the issue of land rights and the authorities’ use of force in cases of land grabbing, please follow this link to the Phnom Penh Post article “Land Disputes Lead to Jailing” by May Titthara and Will Baxter (18th August 2010), and this link to the Rights Organization’s, LICADHO, Press Statement “Excessive Use of Force Against Peaceful Gathering of Villagers in Phnom Penh” (8th August 2010)