Villagers Charged With Illegally Clearing Land

The Kratie Provincial Court on Sunday charged three villagers with illegally clearing community forest, and six more for clearing state-owned land, officials said Monday.

The three people were arrested in Snoul district’s Khyoem commune and accused of clearing protected forest while the other six were arrested in Sambor district, according to Heng Phearak, an investigator for local rights group Adhoc.

“They are being held in pretrial detention at the provincial prison,” he said.

Meo Men, the brother of one of the men arrested for clearing community forest, said his brother had been living on the land for two years and had not known that it was community forest.

Keo Chea, provincial military police commander, said he had coordinated the arrests on Sunday.

“We received orders from the provincial authorities and cooperated with the police to arrest them,” he said.

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