Posts Tagged ‘Amnesty Livewire’

Campaigning helps: Cambodian HRD Mam Sonando speaks out after his liberation

April 19, 2013

 

(Cambodian human rights defender and journalist Mam Sonando a prisoner of conscience © TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

On 12 April 2013 Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam posted on Amnesty‘s Livewire an interesting account of his meeting with the just liberated Cambodian Human Rights Defender Mam Sonando. It is a impressive testimony to the resilience of human rights defenders and how campaigning can help them and therefore I reproduce it below:

It was hot – very hot – as I arrived last week at Mam Sonando’s home and radio station on a dusty street in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. He welcomed me at the front door. “Thank you,” he said. With a broad smile, he flashed his signature ‘V for victory’ sign with his right hand. After over eight months in prison, he was free and no longer facing 20 years behind bars. 

Mam Sonando, 72, is a well-known and popular journalist. He owns Beehive Radio, one of Cambodia’s few independent radio stations. And he heads the Association of Democrats, which promotes human rights and democracy and helps poor communities. On 11 September 2012, his trial began at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He had been arrested two months earlier after Cambodia’s Prime Minister accused him publicly of being behind a plot for a village in eastern Cambodia to secede – to break away from the country. In fact, the villagers there had been involved in a long-running land conflict with a powerful company, and the so-called secession plot was used as a pretext to forcibly evict them. Read the rest of this entry »