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Human rights defender Muong Sopheak arrested

Status: 
Detained
About the situation

On 11 September 2020, human rights defender Muong Sopheak was arrested by police, from outside the Khmer Will Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. He now joins a long list of human rights defenders who have been arrested by authorities over the week, in relation to their organisation and participation in a peaceful assembly at Freedom Park. Muong Sopheak was arrested by court order for “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest”. He is currently detained at the Phnom Penh Correctional Center (CC) 1.

About Muong Sopheak

Muong SopheakMuong Sopheak is a human rights defender and a member of the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association (KSILA). The group works on mobilising and building capacity, to increase students’ participation in social development, good government, and sustainable use of natural resources. In his capacity, the defender has been an active voice, especially amongst youth in the country, raising awareness on social injustices and human rights issues.

 

14 September 2020
Human rights defender Muong Sopheak arrested

On 11 September 2020, human rights defender Muong Sopheak was arrested by police, from outside the Khmer Will Party headquarters in Phnom Penh. He now joins a long list of human rights defenders who have been arrested by authorities over the week, in relation to their organisation and participation in a peaceful assembly at Freedom Park. Muong Sopheak was arrested by court order for “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest”. He is currently detained at the Phnom Penh Correctional Center (CC) 1.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Muong Sopheak is a human rights defender and a member of the Khmer Student Intelligent League Association (KSILA). The group works on mobilising and building capacity, to increase students’ participation in social development, good government, and sustainable use of natural resources. In his capacity, the defender has been an active voice, especially amongst youth in the country, raising awareness on social injustices and human rights issues.

On 11 September 2020, Phnom Penh police arrested human rights defender Muong Sopheak after the Phnom Penh Court issued an order for his arrest, charging him with “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest”. The charge has been brought against him in relation to his participation in a peaceful assembly that took place at the Freedom Park in Phnom Penh on 7 September 2020. The demonstration called for the release of imprisoned human rights defender Rong Chhun, as well as imprisoned members of Khmer Thavarak, Hun Vannak and Chhoeun Daravy. Muong Sopheak is currently being held at Phnom Penh’s CC 1 where he has access to his lawyer.

In the past several days, there has been a crackdown on public gatherings in Cambodia, with several human rights defenders currently detained. Front Line Defenders has issued multiple appeals condemning judicial harassment of defenders, including the detention of the vice president of KSILA, Mean Prommony, who was arrested on 6 September 2020.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned by the progressively hostile environment in which human rights defenders carry out their work in Cambodia. Particularly concerning is the Government’s curtailing of defenders’ fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Front Line Defenders condemns the arrest of Muong Sopheak, as it believes he is being targeted for his legitimate and peaceful work for the protection of human rights.