Official Threatens Arrests Over Workshops: Adhoc

An activist working for human rights group Adhoc in Mondolkiri province said Tuesday that a district governor threatened to arrest Adhoc staffers if they held planned workshops on human rights and democracy next week.

Sok Ratha, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that his lead investigator, Eang Mengly, delivered a letter about the workshops to Keo Seima district governor Sun Vanvuth on Monday.

“When our official brought the letter to him yesterday he refused [to let us hold the workshops] and asked us: ‘Does your organization know the law?’” Mr. Ratha said.

“He claimed that our letter of notice is not the work of civil society, but it is the work of a political party. He threatened us that if we do it [hold the workshops] on May 11 and 12, he will order the [police] force to put us in handcuffs.”

When contacted by phone Tuesday, Mr. Vanvuth hung up on a reporter.

Mr. Ratha criticized the alleged threat. “It is a serious human rights violation because the Constitution declares that all Cambodian people have the right to join meetings or any training workshops,” he said.

Mr. Ratha said that Adhoc still planned to hold the workshops as scheduled.

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