Mam Sonando case Cambodia's attempt to silence critics, rights group Slug: Cambodia activist Reporter: Borin Noun

Date: 2/10/2012 INTRO: Prominent Cambodian journalist and activist Mam Sonando has been sentenced to 20 years in jail. He was arrested in July, accused of masterminding a secessionist plot in the Kratie Province. The village has been the site of a long-running and violent land dispute. Mam Sonando's Beehive Radio station is one of the few independent media outlets in Cambodia and regularly airs the voices of opposition parties and those critical of the government. Rights groups say his sentencing is the latest attempt by the government to silence its critics in the lead-up to next year's national elections. Borin Noun reports. TEXT: SFX:2 atmostphere in Court room The court was packed with international and local human rights defenders. The decision was what they feared. 20 years in jail for inciting villagers to try to form their own state. An accusation Mam Sonnando denies. Mam Sonnado clip 1 (Male/Khmer): “I’m happy to save Cambodian poor people. I will get justice at the final moment.” SFX: 4 many supporters crying before court home Hundreds of Sonando’s supporters protested outside the court room. They chant, sing a national song to respect human rights amid a heavy police presence. Thun Sarin travelled 100 kilometres from his home in the Prey Veng Province to be here.

” Rights groups say the the case is “shocking” and the latest attempt from the government to silence critics ahead of next year’s election. he called for Sonando’s arrest.” Long Pha from Takeo province is a member of the Association of Democrats. Rupert Abbott Clip 1 (Male/ English): “It shows as a political thing. He’s innocent. Hun Sen clip 1 (Male. one of the few independent media outlets in the country. The government and court should not detain him. so we have to have a political solution. I think there are two factors that are relevant. I will continue fighting till I die. Amnesty International’s regional spokesperson Rupert Abbott says the verdict is politically motivated. Farmers there have been evicted from their land to make way for a Russian-owned agribusiness. In a nationally broadcasted speech last June.” SFX: 3 car sound carrying Mon Sonando back prison . And this has made Prime Minister Hun Sen angry.Thun Sarin clip 1(Male/Khmer): “Government has to release and give justice to Mam Sonando. And that Mam Sonand has been given slots for opposition parties on his radio station. If Sonando is not released. a group of activists lead by Sonand. One is that next year we will have the national election. So there’s a motivation to stop the voice. Long Pha ( Male/ Khmer): “On behalf of his Association in Takeo province. I will stand up for him and protest until the chief Mam Sonando gets justice and is released from prison. We will seek to arrest him. We will bring him to be sentenced. We are poor people and we demand him to be freed. In May a teenage girl was shot dead when security forces clashed with protestors. SFX: 5 his radio station voice relating to Sonando’s activists Mam Sonando also runs Beehive Radio. It regularly gives airtime to the opposition parties and those critical of the government.” Mam Sonando was arrested in July. accused of masterminding a plot to establish an autonomous region in Pro Ma Village in eastern Kratie province. Khmer): “We’re calling all civil and NOGs to find lawyers to defend this case.

I will bring his case to the appeals court.” For Asia Calling this story was produced by Borin Noun in Phnom Penh. Sonando’s wife Dinn Phanara promises to seek for justice. They’re trying to bar him from teaching people about the rule of law and democracy. Dinn Phanara Clip 1: Female/Khmer): “The government is using threats and intimidation against my husband with imprisonment. This is injustice. .Seeing her husband taken away in police car.

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