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Cambodian court jails environmental activists for plotting against government

Spanish national Gonzales-Davidson said that 10, including himself, were found guilty of plotting against the government, while three were also found guilty of insulting the king, under Cambodia's lese majeste laws.
Last Updated : 02 July 2024, 05:25 IST

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Phnom Penh: Ten activists from the Cambodian environmental group Mother Nature were found guilty on charges of plotting against the government and insulting the king, the group's founder said on Tuesday.

Five of the defendants from the conservation group were arrested outside the court in Phnom Penh immediately after the verdict, founder Alejandro Gonzales-Davidson told Reuters.

Spanish national Gonzales-Davidson said that 10, including himself, were found guilty of plotting against the government, while three were also found guilty of insulting the king, under Cambodia's lese majeste laws.

Gonzales-Davidson was found guilty in absentia after being deported almost a decade ago.

Three of the members were sentenced to eight years in jail on both charges, he said.

The other members were found guilty of plotting against the government but the length of their sentence was not immediately clear.

A spokesperson for the court and government could not immediately be reached for comment.

The accusations of plotting against the state had not been clarified in court, said Gonzales-Davidson, but three members were arrested after documenting suspected pollution run-off into the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh in 2021.

The lese majeste charges relate to an internal Zoom meeting about political cartooning that was leaked.

Tuesday's verdict comes amid deepening concerns about freedom of expression in Cambodia under Prime Minister Hun Manet, who took power last year after the decades long rule of his father, Hun Sen.

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Published 02 July 2024, 05:25 IST

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