On 18 February 2013 Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs/ Vice President of the European Commission commented on the case of Time Sakmony and Yorm Bopha. Her comment was made as a response to a question raised in the European Parliament in December 2012 by Raul Romeva i Rueda, a Spanish politician and a member of the European Parliament.
Answer given by High Representative/Vice President Ashton
The two land evictions activists Tim Sakmony and Yorm Bopha were arrested and charged ‘independently,” but at the same time on non-related criminal offenses. A court passed judgement on 27th and 28th December. While Sakmony left the tribunal free, Bopha was sent back to jail with a sentence of 3 years and a fine of USD 7500. Both had been detained since last September. The EU Delegation in Phnom Penh attended the whole of Yorm Bopha’s trial.
Human rights concerns have been discussed at the highest level with the Cambodian authorities, when the President of the European Council, Mr. Van Rompuy met Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during his visit to Cambodia on 2-4 November.
In those discussions, the EU strongly underlined the importance of respect for Human Rights and the rule of law, in particular in the context of land reform. Together with its Delegation in Phnom Penh, the EU is looking at the best way to follow-up on these discussions, including through a demarche by the EU Head of Delegation where these abovementioned cases may be raised.