Loun Sovath speaks to reporters during a demonstration at Boeng Kak lake earlier this week. Photograph: Meng Kimlong/Phnom Penh Post
Senior members of the monastic community this morning were involved in detaining Buddhist monk Loun Sovath, an award-winning human rights activist, after he took photos of protesting Boeg Kak lake villagers outside Phnom Penh municipal court.
Cambodia. Phnom Penh. 24/05/2012: Venerable Loun Sovath, buddhist monk involved in monitoring land issues, being taken away by fellow monks and police during demonstration of Boeng Kak Lake residents supporting their 13 fellows arrested on May 22nd. Photo coutesy John Vink/Magnum
Monks, police and unidentified plain-clothed men forced him into a Land Cruiser and ushered him away from the scene as more than 60 protesters, flanked by about 100 police, called for the release of 13 Boeng Kak women who where being questioned inside.
The monks would not comment on why they had detained Venerable Loun Sovath, who was banned from all pagodas in Phnom Penh last year by Supreme Patriarch Non Nget.
Front left to right: Tep Vong, Nong Nget; back row, left - right: Nauy Jrek, Daund Phand, unknown. Photo courtesy AP
Venerable Loun Sovath was driven to Wat Botum, where police and officials from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Cults and Religion barricaded him inside, sealing off entries so even pagoda boys could not enter.
A Ministry of Cults and Religion official said it was unclear whether the supreme patriarch has grounds to defrock the monk.
“[Venerable Loun Sovath] is being held here, and after [the supreme patriarch] has finished lunch, he will decide what to do.”
The 13 Boeng Kak women arrested on Tuesday are yet to be charged.
Thursday, 24 May 2012 Khouth Sophak Chakrya
Courtesy The Phnom Penh Post
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