Thousands of Cambodians descended on the small village of Vihear Suor (Kandal Province) on October 4 to cheer on the annual water buffalo race that marks the end of the 15-day festival for the dead (Pchum Ben), the most important Cambodian religious event.
The race, that has very ancient roots, is organised for the entertainment of the spirits who have come to Earth during the Pchum Ben and is also be followed by wrestling and khmer boxe matches.
Here’s my reportage about the intense day of protests and clashes that occurred in Phnom Penh last Sunday after the first day of protest organised by the CNRP (Cambodian National Rescue Party) to contest the election results. Sadly the result was tragic as one young man was killed a few meters from us and at least 3 others were injured with bullet wounds.
Finally a great news for all the defenders of Human Right in Cambodia.
Cambodian activist and independent radio station owner, Mam Sonando, was finally released from jail after his 20-year sentence was suspended by the Phnom Penh court yesterday (he spent a total of eight months in preventive custody).
Thousands of supporters waited for hours outside the prison to welcome him.
Here’s the communicate by Amnesty International:
A Cambodian court’s decision to overturn anti-state convictions and a two-decade prison sentence against a prominent journalist is a positive step for freedom of expression in the country, Amnesty International said.
Mam Sonando, 72, the owner of one of Cambodia’s few independent radio stations, was first convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2012 on charges of “insurrection”. Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned simply for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
But today the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh overturned the more serious convictions against Mam Sonando. Instead, he was given a five-year prison sentence for offences including “instigating illegal clearing and occupation of forest.” He has already been in prison for eight months and the rest of his sentence is suspended. He will be released this week.
“We welcome Mam Sonando’s imminent release, which is a step in the right direction for freedom of expression in Cambodia,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia who attended today’s appeal verdict hearing.
“But Mam Sonando should never have been imprisoned in the first place, and the convictions that stand appear baseless.
“The introduction of new charges at such a late stage raises concerns about the fairness of the proceedings, while the suspended sentence may be designed to silence Mam Sonando.”
“However, we have to hope that today’s decision to release Mam Sonando represents a halt to the assault on freedom of expression, in a year when Cambodia will hold national parliamentary elections.”
The hearing to review the verdict against Cambodian human rights activist Mam Sonando (sentenced to 20 years for leading an alleged secession movement) has begun in Phnom Penh.
“Mam Sonando’s case is indicative of an extremely worrying trend: the Cambodian courts are being used to silence human rights defenders, particularly in the context of conflicts over land ownership and forced evictions”Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia
This is what happened the first day:
After the end of the hearing, I decided to follow the activists, as I know many of them came to attend the trail from remote areas, and I discovered they will pass the night at the headquarter of BeeHive Radio, in the south of Phnom Penh.
And this is part of the second day (at the moment, I don’t know for how long the hearing will continue):
A final procession, in which the ashes of the late Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk, were accompanied by King Sihamoni and Queen Mother Monineath from the crematorium to the Royal Palace, concluded the 7 days of funeral ceremonies.
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On the 4th day of the funeral, the body of the late Cambodian King Sihanouk, is cremated in a sumptuous Buddhist ceremony held in the crematorium built nearby the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, at the presence of numerous foreign heads of state.
Celebrations of the funerals of the late king Sihanouk continue in Phnom Penh, with a private ceremony held by the Royal Family at the crematorium site and two massive concentrations of Cambodian people gathered to pay their last respects.
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Phnom Penh, 1st of february 2013, buddhist funeral rites for the former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk saw a golden coffin carrying his embalmed body paraded through the streets of Phnom Penh that were lined with thousands of mourners paying their last respects.
The king’s body will be cremated on Monday, 4th of february 2013.
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This afternoon I was riding my motorbike when, nearby the Central Market, I bumped into a blaze.
A good amount of smoke were coming out from a Chinese bar/restaurant and from the first floor of the building. The road was blocked by a huge amount of Fire Fighters’ trucks (for the size of the blaze), at least 40-50 policemen and curious people.
The atmosphere was really unreal… a real chaos, nobody was really understanding what to do and how do it… so, I dragged out my Press Pass and I started to take pictures…