English PEN joins PEN International in warmly welcoming the release of Cambodian activist and songwriter Yorm Bopha on bail on 22 November
On 27 December 2012 Yorm Bopha was convicted of ‘intentional violence with aggravating circumstances’ under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code. She was sentenced to three years in prison, of which one year was later suspended on appeal. PEN campaigned for her immediate and unconditional release – asking members and supporters to send letters of appeal to the Cambodian authorities, as well as messages of solidarity and pens to Bopha and her fellow prisoners so that they could continue their education and writing.
Following her release on bail on 22 November, Yorm Bopha has sent a message of thanks to all those who campaigned for her release:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I would like to thanks to all NGOs for your supports, encouragement and help to find the justice for me as well as my community. I would like to pray and say thanks to all communities and NGOs that help to find the justice for me. Now I feel very excited of seeing support from our Khmer people. I would like to thanks many of those who are live inside and outside Cambodia that help to find justice. Even though I still don’t get the justice, I congratulate for the release, but I am still not happy and feel sorry because the Supreme Court didn’t give justice to me fully. They put me in the jail for over one year, but they still didn’t find the justice for me. They send my case back to Appeal Court. So I still need to struggle and protest, because I afraid that it will be the same case as Born Samnang and Sok Sameoun, arrested them, released then arrested them again. I am strongly worry about that. But I believe that all the community people, National and International NGOs, both people who live inside and outside Cambodia will continue to observe my community and my case as well as the injustice activities in the whole country. Cambodia doesn’t respect Human Rights and Democracy fully. I would like national and international NGOs to continue to observe my case because there is no justice for me yet. They still move my case to Appeal Court. As I am the land activist who have been protested. So this is like tie me, and not allows me to join to advocate for my community and other people that face injustice in Cambodian society.
While we welcome the decision taken by the Supreme Court to release Yorm Bopha on bail pending a re-hearing of her case by the Court of Appeal, we still believe the charges against her to be politically motivated and designed to prevent her activities on behalf of the Boeng Kak lake community. We are therefore calling on the Court of Appeal to act swiftly and independently to review her case and ensure that she no longer risks imprisonment. Please join us.
Please send appeals:
- Welcoming the temporary release of Cambodian land rights activist and protest-song writer Yorm Bopha on 22 November 2013;
- Urging the Court of Appeal to carry out a swift and independent review of Bopha’s case;
- Calling for Bopha not to be re-imprisoned and for all charges against her to be dropped.
Send your appeals to:
Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen
Office of the Prime Minister
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Fax: + 855 23 360 666
Minister of Justice
Mr. H.E. Ang Vong Vathna,
No 240, Sothearos Blvd,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Fax: 023 364119.
Please also send copies to the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in London:
His Excellency Mr. Hor Nambora
Royal Embassy of Cambodia
64 Brondesbury Park
Or you could use the form below. A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.
[ecampaign ‘email@example.com‘ subject=”In support of Yorm Bopha”]
I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to welcome the release of Cambodian activist and songwriter Yorm Bopha on bail.
According to PEN’s information, Yorm Bopha was convicted of ‘intentional violence with aggravating circumstances’ under Article 218 of the Cambodian Criminal Code on 27 December 2012. She was sentenced to three years in prison, of which once year was later suspended on appeal.
Whilst I welcome the decision taken by the Supreme Court on 22 November 2013 to release Yorm Bopha on bail pending a re-hearing of her case by the Court of Appeal, I believe the charges against her to be politically motivated and designed to prevent her activities on behalf of the Boeng Kak lake community. I am therefore calling on the Court of Appeal to act swiftly and independently to review Bopha’s case and ensure that she no longer risks imprisonment.
I would welcome your comments on my appeal.