Re: Mr. Lem Piseth, Journalist at Radio Free Asia

Re: Mr. Lem Piseth, Journalist at Radio Free Asia

To: H.E. Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and others

From: Gail Davidson, LRWC

Date: 2007-06-22

We have received information based on a report by the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) that on June 16, 2007 an anonymous death threats was made against Mr. Lem Piseth, a journalist at Radio Free Asia, after he published a report on deforestation in Kompong Thom province. Following publication of these reports, Mr. Piseth was followed by members of the police and military. A hotel owner also asked him to leave a hotel room in which he was staying without giving any explanation.

These threats followed Mr. Piseth’s publication of several reports about forest destruction in Kompong Thom province. We are aware of a June 1, 2007 report by Global Witness about unlawful forest destruction in Cambodia. We understand that a publication ban on this report was issued on June 8, 2007, including a statement by Mr. Khieu Kanharith of the Ministry of Information that newspapers [could] refer to [the report] but not reproduce it. Radio Free Asia and some other news media continued to release news about the report after June 8, 2007, and we understand that Mr. Lem Piseth quoted the report in a radio broadcast. We understand that a police official ordered Radio Free Asia to stop broadcasts on this issue.

We are very concerned about these reports of threats and harassment directed against Mr. Lem Piseth, which we understand have caused Mr. Lem Piseth to flee Cambodia. We request that your government take all necessary measures to ensure that all acts of harassment and threats against Mr. Lem Piseth are put to a stop through lawful means. We request that your government ensure the protection of all persons, including journalists and human rights defenders, from unlawful threats against their safety.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We look forward to your response.