A handful of Boeung Kak residents this morning attempted to file a petition to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet asking for the release of fellow activist Tep Vanny, who has been in prison since August 2016.
Vanny was arrested after performing a “cursing ceremony" at the lake site in 2016, demanding the release of the so-called Adhoc 5 – a group of then-detained rights workers and an election official – but has since seen three other dormant court cases revived against her. In one case, she was handed a two-and-a-half-year sentence for allegedly leading a protest outside the premier’s home in Phnom Penh that turned violent.
The six Boeung Kak residents submitted a petition, signed by seven activists, asking Hun Sen to pardon Vanny. Now that the land dispute at the lake is nearly solved, they said, the jailed activist has little reason to continue her campaign.
They also cited International Women’s Rights Day as an appropriate time to announce an amnesty.
“It shows a very good gesture to pay attention from the leaders in empowering women and celebrate the women’s rights day on March 8,” the petition read.
In response, residents were asked to return with a completed petition, as they had not submitted with it a copy of the Supreme Court order upholding her 30-month sentence last month.
“Their petition is not enough. I told them to return to bring complete documents. They need to bring along the final verdict,” said Kong Chamroeun, a complaints officer at the premier’s cabinet.
Boeung Kak activist Chan Puthisak said the Supreme Court had not released a copy of the final verdict and that they would re-submit the petition once it was released.