The Cambodian authorities should stop harassing and forcibly dispersing family members protesting the detention of opposition political activists, Human Rights Watch said today. Relatives of detained Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) activists have protested in front of the Phnom Penh municipal court for seven Fridays in a row, since June 19, 2020. They have handed in petitions to Phnom Penh-based foreign embassies and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Cambodia.
On the morning of July 31, Khan Prampi Makara security forces blocked protesters from reaching the municipal court, grabbing and pushing them to the ground. At about 9 a.m., officers apprehended Sath Pha, a cousin of Heng Sothy, a detained CNRP activist. They dragged her across the street and forcibly put her into a police car from the Prampi Makara District Administration Unified Command Committee, headed by the district governor.
“Videos of police dragging peaceful protesters on the street and forcibly jamming them into vehicles should raise global concern for police abuse in Cambodia,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “The authorities should immediately end violent tactics against peaceful protesters and respect the rights to free expression and assembly.”