Target: Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister
Goal: Drop charges against a Buddhist monk whose peaceful activism has angered authorities
A Cambodian Buddhist monk known for his activism on behalf of those affected by land disputes and forced evictions is facing criminal charges. These charges are simply the latest attempt to silence the monk through imprisonment, and Amnesty International has stated that if he is convicted he will be considered a prisoner of conscience. Sign the petition and urge authorities to drop the charges against the monk.
The Venerable Loun Sovath has earned the nickname “the Multimedia Monk” as a result of his activism, which often involves him recording peaceful protests and writing songs and poems about his work. His activism is widely recognized and he has won a number of human rights awards.
The latest charges against him come as a result of his participation in peaceful protests against forced evictions in several regions of Cambodia. Initially, authorities attempted to try Sovath and another person–who has been labelled a “terrorist” by the government and who lives in the Untied States–together, but a judge ruled that the two should be tried separately. He also said there was not enough evidence against Sovath to justify a conviction, but “the case has unexpectedly been renewed,” Amnesty International reports.
Peaceful protest is never a legitimate reason to be targeted by one’s government. Sign the petition and stand in support of the Venerable Loun Sovath.
I am writing to urge you to drop all charges against the Venerable Loun Sovath. He has done nothing more than exercise his right to peacefully protest, and a campaign of harassment against him in the form of trumped-up charges is unwarranted.
Sovathhas is a recognized human rights leader; he has won several awards and is greatly admired by many. As the “Multimedia Monk,” he has drawn attention to causes such as forced evictions and land disputes without ever resorting to violence.
The charges brought against him have already been dismissed by a judge as being insufficient to justify a conviction; there is absolutely no need to bring the charges up again and drag Sovath into court. The entire situation makes a mockery of the so-called “justice” system and wastes time and resources better spent elsewhere.
If Sovath is convicted, he will be considered a prisoner of conscience. I urge you not to let things get that far. Drop the charges against the Venerable Loun Sovath and end this campaign of harassment and intimidation against him.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr