Cambodian authorities should end the politically motivated investigations of four environmental activists looking into illegal logging in Kratie province, Human Rights Watch said today, the International Day of Forests. The authorities should investigate a Taiwanese-Cambodian company whose employees allegedly detained the activists, including the prominent environmentalist Ouch Leng, and assaulted one of them.
On March 13, 2020, security guards allegedly from the company Think Biotech took into custody Leng, director of the Cambodian Human Rights Task Force (CHRTF), his associate Man Mat, and Khem Soky and Srey Thei of the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN), while they were investigating alleged illegal logging. The security guards held the activists incommunicado overnight. The police questioned the four and released them on March 16, saying they would continue to investigate the activists for criminal offenses.
“The Cambodian authorities should end their abusive investigation of four environmental activists who for years have confronted illegal logging activities at great personal risk,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The authorities should stop using politicized courts and repressive laws to silence activists and to protect corrupt officials and businesses.”