Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) member Chan Thoeun was tried in absentia today on charges of attempted murder after reporting on the transportation of timber out of the protected Prey Lang forest.
As authorities jail multiple activists for their online speech, rights groups and civil society members are decrying the government’s digital surveillance and criminalization of speech.
The United States is ending its financial support for the multi-million dollar “Greening Prey Lang” project, accusing Cambodian authorities of failing to prevent illegal logging and of targeting local communities who have tried to monitor ongoing deforestation.
An international advocacy group tracking organized crime has accused the Cambodian government of overlooking, and at times actively protecting illegal logging groups driving severe deforestation in the ecologically significant Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Prey Lang Community Network lambasted the USAID funded Greening Prey Lang project for claiming to support the patrol group, adding that the US agency has instead kept the group away from forest protection projects.