22 March 2013
Cambodia: Mam Sonando Released
for Law and Democracy (CLD), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LWRC) are pleased to note that Mam Sonando, a
Cambodian broadcaster who had been detained for exercising his right to freedom
of expression, has been released. He was released only after spending eight
months in prison.
an Appeal Court hearing on 14 March 2013, at the prosecutor’s request, the more
serious charges against Mam Sonando, namely insurrection and incitement to take
up arms against the State, were dropped, while charges of obstruction of
officials and unlawful interference in the discharge of public functions were
maintained, and a charge of and occupation of forestry land was added. The
Appeal Court cut his sentence to five years, suspended the remainder of his
sentence, but placed him on probation for three years. The probation may place
Mam Sonando at heightened risk of further arbitrary detentions for peacefully
exercising his right to freedom of expression.
believe that the charges against Mam Sonando were politically motivated and
unsubstantiated, as we made clear in a letter to His Excellency, Prime Minister
Hun Sen on 5 October 2012 (available at: http://www.law-democracy.org/live/media/letters/).
Sonando is the owner of one of Cambodia’s few independent radio stations and
has been a prominent critic of the Cambodian government. His arrest was
announced last July, the day after he appeared at the International Criminal
Court to make a presentation to the Office of the Prosecutor on behalf of the
Khmer People Power Movement on alleged crimes against humanity by the Cambodian
government. Mam Sonando had been arrested twice before on spurious, politically
motivated charges, both times after publicly criticising the Cambodian
call on the Government of Cambodia to request that Mam Sonando be pardoned in
relation to all charges. We also call on the government to respect the right of
everyone, including those who criticise government, to freedom of expression.
For further information, please contact the organisations listed in 220313 Cambodia-Sonando PR final.pdf