Kratie: Kratie Provincial Court released five forest protection activists at around 9 am yesterday after two days of detention and sent them to court The province on the evening of February 7 after they entered the illegal forest protection campaign to the restricted area. This is according to Mr. So Vuthy, Deputy Prosecutor of Kratie Provincial Court, told the Post yesterday.

The five forest protection activists released by the court include Ouch Leng, Heng Sros, Man Mat, Heng Ron and Tang Cheang.

"The court has released the five forest protection activists and has not charged them with any crime," So Vuthy said. .

Ms. Sam Sokunthea, LICADHO's lawyer who investigated the arrest of the five forest protection activists and attended the proceedings at the Provincial Court Kratie said that the release of the five forest activists, the Department of Environment and the Kratie Provincial Court gave them a contract to stop the activities. No permission from the authorities. They have to apply for registration of the organization at the Ministry of Interior.

"My client was asked by the Department of Environment to enter into a contract prohibiting entry into the restricted area (Prey Lang) without permission," she said. The prosecution also made a contract, if not registered as an organization at the Ministry of Interior is not allowed to operate. No more. ”

Mr. Sung Senkaruna, Senior Investigator of the Adhoc Human Rights Defenders Association, who also investigated the case in Kratie Province, said that the Kratie Provincial Court was closed. The interrogation and release of the five forest protection activists took place between 9:45 a.m. yesterday.

"According to my inquiries, the five forest protection activists were given a contract by the court, forbidding them from doing so," he said. Take action to protect the forest and register the organization at the Ministry of Interior. "But what all five of them did to protect the forest was as activists and as citizens."

Kratie provincial environmental officials arrested the forest protection activists on the evening of February 5 after they and about five community members campaigned. Protect the forest, plant trees and put signs on the trees to prevent deforestation under the slogan "Please take care Our ancestral heritage forest ”is located in Prey Lang area in Kampong Cham commune, Sambo district.

Chhay Duong Savuth, director of the Kratie provincial environment department, declined to comment yesterday. However, according to a press release from the Office of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Environment, the enforcement of the law against these five forest protection activists was carried out by environmental officials. Two legal proceedings on February 7, 2021, after questioning and gathering evidence.

The proceedings include, first, the perpetrators confessed to trespassing on the Lang Wildlife Sanctuary in Kratie province and did Acting without permission and contracted in front of officials of the Ministry of Environment to stop activities into protected areas without permission in any form as an act Contrary to state law, especially against the law on protected areas. Second, at 12:25 on February 7, the ranger of the Kratie Provincial Department of Environment sent the case file and handed over the 5 people to Court to take legal action.

The Ministry of Environment states: “Mr. Ouch Leng, President of the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force and his accomplices acted illegally under the label The Cambodian Human Rights Task Force, which is not legally registered with the Ministry of Interior.

LICADHO Deputy Director Am Sam Ath congratulates the release of the five forest protection activists. But he regretted their detention.

"If we look at the big picture, these five forest protection activists are just environmentalists who love the forest," he said. "What they are doing is to protect Cambodia's forests."