Trio of Cambodian Youth Imprisoned for Environmental Activism

In recent years, the environmental group Mother Nature has become a major irritant for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.

A Cambodian court has imprisoned three environmental activists belonging to the advocacy group Mother Nature, after finding them guilty of “incitement” for organizing a one-woman protest against the filling of lakes in the country’s capital Phnom Penh.

On Wednesday, a judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced activists Long Kunthea and Phuon Keoraksmey to 18 months in prison for “incitement to commit a felony or disturb social order” and fined them 4 million riel (about $1,000) each. A third activist, Thun Ratha, 29, was sentenced to 20 months on the same charge, and he was also fined 4 million riel.

The trio was arrested in September while organizing a protest in which Kunthea planned a live-streamed solo march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s imposing villa in central Phnom Penh, to raise awareness about the destruction of Boeung Tamok, one of the city’s last remaining lakes.

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