Human rights defender Luon Sovath released
On May 24, the Cambodian monk and human rights defender, Luon Sovath, was detained after documenting protests outside the Phnom Penh municipal court. Senior monks, loyal to the authorities, forced the Venerable Sovath to leave the demonstration and drove off with him to Wat Botum pagoda where government officials were waiting.
Luon Sovath was released in the evening the same day but 13 other human rights defenders were sentenced to prison.
When he was arrested, Luon Sovath was taking photos and documenting the demonstration that called for the release of thirteen land rights activist who are facing trial today following peaceful protests against forced eviction from the Boeung Kak area. Earlier today, two activists that were to stand as witnesses in the trial were arrested outside the court and taken into police custody.
Last month, it was announced that Venerable Sovath is one of three nominated to receive the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders. Sovath has documented ongoing land rights abuses in Cambodia since 2009, famous for his innovative methods to inform Cambodian citizens of their rights.