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Bail Appeal Being Prepared for Mother Nature Three

The lawyer for the three Mother Nature activists is busy preparing an appeal for bail. Mr. Sam Sok Kong is reported as saying that the charges his clients face “are grave, but they were working to build a public movement to protect the environment.”

He has yet to comment on Wednesday night’s statement from the Ministry of Information that the three have apparently confessed, although no further details have been released about the nature of those confessions.

26 year old Sun Ratha and 32 year old Yim Leang Hy, have been charged with conspiracy and with lèse-majesté, or insulting the king. 21 year old Ly Chandaravuth has been charged with plotting to topple the government. They could face jail terms of between 5 and 10 years. Mother Nature founder Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, was deported from Cambodia back in 2015 and has been charged in absentia.

In Wednesday night’s statement, the Interior Ministry said the three had confessed to plotting to overthrow the Royal Government, but did not provide any further details about the confessions themselves.

Earlier this week, prosecutors presented evidence of a zoom meeting the activists held in May this year during which the king was insulted. The Royal Government considers the activities of Mother Nature illegal, having banned the organization when Davidson was deported 6 years ago, but the group remains active on Facebook and on its website.

The arrest of the young activists was raised by visiting UK Foreign Secretary, Mr. Dominic Raab on Wednesday during his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Prak Sokhonn. Mr. Raab later told a reporter that the UK and Cambodian governments had “agreed to have human rights dialogue”. He also confirmed that he did raise the UK government’s “concern around the recent criminal investigation, detention and prosecution of the Mother Nature activists.”

Raab says he made the argument that opposition criticism and media criticism can be painful, “but it all contributes to the scrutiny of the government and the improvement of the government itself.”

Also on Wednesday, in a meeting with outgoing French Ambassador, Ms. Eva Nguyen Binh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sar Kheng, stated that the arrest of the three Mother Nature activists was “a clear indication of their past activities”. He said Cambodia had no choice but to enforce the law on illegal activities.

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