Activists, Journalist Summoned Over Incitement

Ratanakkiri Provincial Court has summoned for questioning two rights group activists and a journalist over charges that they incited ethnic minority villagers in Lumphat district to violence in 2009, a court official said yesterday. The case against the three men – Adhoc provincial coordinator Pen Bonnar, Adhoc investigator Chhay Thy and Radio Free Asia report Sok Ratha – has been highly criticized by local and international rights organizations that have accused the court and provincial authorities of harassment. In 2009, Judge Saran meted out incitement and terrorism charges to Mr Bonnar and Mr Thy, who he accused of inciting ethnic Tampuon villagers into a violent protest over 200 hectares of land the villagers claimed was wrongfully occupied by private development company DM Group. Over the same dispute, Judge Saran – who was retired by royal decree last month – also charged Mr Ratha, the reporter, with colluding to incite criminal acts.