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15:42 ICT Nov 24

Tomorrow, November 25, 2014, renowned human rights defender Venerable Loun Sovath will appear before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in a flawed and protracted judicial process aiming to silence him. He has been charged with “incitement to commit a felony” for joining and supporting, both domestically and from abroad, demonstrations against government authorities by victims of land disputes in Chi Kreng, Siem Reap, and Boeung Kak lake, Phnom Penh. If convicted, Venerable Sovath faces up to two years in prison and a fine of US$1,000, equivalent to over 4,000,000 Cambodian Riels.

Venerable Sovath is internationally known as the "multi-media monk" and his efforts to voice the human rights abuses against vulnerable communities and human rights defenders in Cambodia have been recognized globally by the United Nations, foreign governments and policymakers, and international non-government organizations (INGOs).

Updated at 16:40 ICT

16:20 ICT Nov 24

The Cause of Progress: Venerable Sovath

If we stay close to fear, then we will be brave. But if we try to stay away from our problems, then the problems will come to us

This is a short teaser from the upcoming documentary 'The Cause of Progress' by independent filmmaker Chris Kelly. The documentary charts the Venerable Loun Sovath's journey to becoming an internationally acclaimed Human Rights Defender.

Updated at 17:08 ICT

17:19 ICT Nov 24

Photo of Venerable Sovath receiving the “See it. Film it. Change it” Award, courtesy of WITNESS.

In 2010, Venerable Sovath was recognized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in their 2010 Human Rights Defenders video, while also receiving the “See it. Film it. Change it” award from international human rights organization WITNESS. Less than a year later, Venerable Sovath was awarded the prestigious Hellman/Hammett grant from Human Rights Watch for his efforts to support communities facing forced evictions and land-grabbing in Cambodia.

Most notably, Venerable Sovath was awarded the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders on October 2, 2012, becoming the first Cambodian to receive the honor. The award, referred to by many as the “Nobel Prize for human rights defenders,” was created in 1993 to honor and protect individuals who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights.

This ends our livestream for this evening. Please join us tomorrow for more updates.

Updated at 17:20 ICT

07:11 ICT Nov 25

Good morning, Venerable Sovath is now on is way to Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

07:27 ICT Nov 25

Morning Mobilizations

Supporters from both Chi Kreng and Banteay Srei in Siem Reap, and Boeung Kak lake, Phnom Penh, are now mobilizing and making their way to the courthouse, including Cambodia National Rescue Party Member of Parliament Mu Sochua. Three trucks of police are waiting inside Olympic Stadium as 100-150 supporters arrive.

Updated at 07:39 ICT

07:58 ICT Nov 25

Venerable Sovath is now giving interviews to media outside the courthouse next to some 150 supporters who have made their way from communities in the following provinces:

  • Siem Reap
  • Kampong Chhnang
  • Kampong Thom
  • Preah Vihear
  • Phnom Penh

Updated at 08:04 ICT

08:08 ICT Nov 25

Venerable Sovath waves to supporters from the courthouse as he waits for his trial to commence.

08:28 ICT Nov 25

Venerable Sovath's trial has gathered attention from the international community as representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and international embassies such as Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and the European Union (EU) take their seats. International non-governmental organizations (INGOs) DanChurchAid and Amnesty International are also present.

Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International, Rupert Abbott is tweeting the trial.

Updated at 08:31 ICT

08:33 ICT Nov 25

COURT PROCEEDINGS now underway

Court proceedings are underway as supporters outside the courthouse now number over 200.

Updated at 10:19 ICT

08:39 ICT Nov 25

Some 40 monks are now in attendance outside the courthouse.

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Welcome to our hub for live coverage of significant political and human rights moments in Cambodia.

As situations unfold, we will provide on-the-ground updates from our field monitors and reliable sources, such as journalists and civil society partners.

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