Yorm Bopha, a Cambodian activist, who was imprisoned on false charges to keep her quiet, has been released after more than 85,000 people signed our global petition including nearly 18,000 from the UK.
‘Thank you to Amnesty International’s supporters! Your campaign has been successful, as my release shows! But my case is not over yet. Please keep pushing the Cambodian Government to end the case against me. We can achieve the most success when we all work together!’
Thank you for helping get Bopha home to her son and husband. But she has only been released on bail and the charges haven’t been dropped.
We’d like you to leave a message in the comments section below to let Bopha know you are thinking of her and are celebrating her release.
She should never have been imprisoned in the first place and the Supreme Court should have dropped the charges against her today and allowed her to be released unconditionally, but we are happy that today she can return to her family.
‘the release of Yorm Bopha, albeit on bail, proves that campaigning and activism can really make a difference in the lives of people who are victims of human rights abuses and violations.’
Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International Cambodian researcher
When her neighbours in Beoung Kak Lake were forced from their homes in their thousands to make way for development, Bopha did not stay silent. When the lake was filled with sand, flooding people’s homes, she did not merge into the crowds.
She took up a microphone and led local activists – most of whom are women – in resistance. She knew there were risks, but she did it for her community, her family and their future.
Threatened, harassed, arrested
First the authorities began to threaten and harass Bopha. Then, in September 2012, she was arrested for planning an assault on two men. Needless to say, the charges were bogus.
Yet even though there was no evidence linking her to the attack, she was convicted and sentenced to three years. In prison she had to share a cramped cell with seven other women.
Husband and son at home
While Bopha was in prison, her family suffered too. Husband Sakhorn says without her around, the warmth had gone from their lives. He told us losing Bopha was like losing an arm.
The heavy compensation the family were forced to pay to her ‘victims’ has crippled them financially. With Sakhorn unable to work selling cloth due to ill-health, their 10 year old son Lyhour can no longer go to school.
But he is inspired by his mum's activism, following in her footsteps by joining community marches for her release.
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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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