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Community activists detained overnight in police custody

(CCHR/IFEX) - On 8 July 2011, two community activists from Boeung Kak Lake were released after spending a night in police custody. The two were arrested following a march by community members who are seeking on-site relocation in their ongoing land conflict with Shukaku Inc., a company partly owned by Cambodian People's Party Senator Lau Meng Khin.

The arrests were made after 200 residents submitted a petition to the British Embassy following the municipal authorities' rejection of a request for on-site relocation on 5 July. The rejection of the request for 4x16 meter ground-floor houses for over 1,000 families living in the Boeng Kak Lake area was reportedly communicated in a letter signed by the municipal governor, Kep Chuktema.

Tep Vanny and Non Sok Kheng, representatives of villages 22 and 23 respectively, were arrested and sent to the Municipal Police Commissioner's Office. The women were arrested when protesters started walking along Monivong Boulevard from Boeung Kak Lake towards City Hall. Tep Vanny explained that, in order to show solidarity, the march included lake residents who, like her, had already been granted the on-site relocation, as well as those to whom it had been refused.

City Hall issued a statement following the arrests, accusing villagers of pressuring municipal authorities. Daun Penh district Deputy Governor Sok Penhvuth is said to have ordered the protesters to avoid City Hall, stating that measures would be taken if the villagers persisted as their actions were "affecting public order."

The women were released after agreeing to sign a document, the terms of which state that the they should refrain from certain activities in the future and that they must report to the municipal authorities if they are requested to do so.

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