Cambodian Activist Released on Bail

Land rights campaigner Yorm Bopha had spent 444 days in jail on spurious charges

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Prominent Cambodian land rights activist, 30-year-old Yorm Bopha, has been granted bail after 444 days in jail.

Bopha is a vocal opponent of government land grabs, under which massive swathes of land are handed over to business interests. An estimated 700,000 people have been forcibly evicted by land grabs over the last decade.

This image was taken during her bail hearing Friday.

Land grab grievances came to a head in 2012, when fierce protests were sparked in the Boeung Kak area of the capital, Phnom Penh, and thirteen women were convicted for occupying land illegally. In the aftermath, Bopha became the most vocal activist fighting for the women’s release, for which she received numerous threats and was frequently harassed.

On December 28 last year, she was sentenced to three years in prison, for allegedly ordering the assault of two motorcycle taxi drivers. Amnesty and other human rights organizations have junked the charges, and call Bopha a prisoner of conscience.

Releasing Bopha on bail on Friday, the Supreme Court said that her case would be heard in the Appeal Court.