Kunthol started to work for IBJ in January 2013 as a provincial lawyer in Banteay Meanchey (DRC7).
Born in Kampot province, she graduated a Bachelor degree of law in 2008 from the Royal University of Law and Economics. She also completed numerous courses including secretary and administrative affairs, computer courses, general accounting and project management. She worked for 3 years with the National Authority for Combating Drug (NACD) at the Ministry of Interior where she performed legal and administrative tasks. In 2009 she worked 2 years as an office assistant for lawyers and then as a Lawyer for the Khmer Apsara Law firm House for 1 year.
With her legal experience, Kunthol wanted to work for IBJ because she is well aware about the fact that numerous poor Cambodian citizens are abused or threatened and in the need of legal services. As a lawyer she felt she has to help them, to help the society in giving free legal assistance and prevent unlawful actions. In this way, IBJ perfectly meets her professional and personal expectations.
In Banteay Meanchey, Kunthol teams up with Chhim Rat, the Lawyer Assistant in this province since 2012.
Released on bail, a father-of-five is enabled to try to support his family in need
Mr. Pagna (name changed) lives in a small village, 30 minutes away from Banteay Meanchey city in the north-west corner of Cambodia. His house made of metal sheets stands close to rice fields and small water streams. A father-of-5, he and his wife already had difficulties supporting their family and their daily living. A while ago, Pagna walked on a mine and lost his ability to perform all kinds of work. He mainly relies on fishing and other small jobs to make a living. The land he occupies with his family was lent to them by an owner, understanding their dire situation. But ultimately, they need to pay him back. In these difficult circumstances, Pagna’s wife suggested him last February to go up the stream close to their house and try to catch some fish there. Pagna went and used electronic equipment to provoke an electric shock and get more fish. He knew that such fishing methods were forbidden, but he was ready to take the risk and get a chance to bring back a little bit more money for his family. However, one day, as he was sailing up the stream to go back home, he saw the police waiting for him, probably alerted by some people in the neighborhood.
The police officers arrested Pagna and seized his fishing equipment, boat and motorbike to use them as evidence in the case. One day after his arrest, Pagna was taken to the court and then to the prison to wait for his trial. The court officers informed IBJ about his case. Nop Kunthol, the IBJ lawyer in Banteay Meanchey province, met with Pagna in prison. Considering the circumstances of the case and her client’s personal situation, Nop Kunthol applied for bail. The first bail application was not successful because of administrative issues within the court. The judge agreed on the first bail application but did not properly fill in the document to transfer to the prosecutor. The latter, noticing the missing parts in the document, did not process the release on bail to avoid mistakes in procedure. Quickly, Nop Kunthol filled a second bail request which was successful.
In total, Pagna spent 4 months in pretrial detention. Those 4 months were very difficult for him. He was really worried about his family, especially given the fact that his wife was about to deliver their fifth child. His wife tried to find support from other organizations. When she heard about IBJ, she was skeptical about whether or not the lawyer’s services were free of charge. Now she trusts IBJ and spreads the word about the organization. Unfortunately to date, Pagna has not been able to resume his work, as the court seized his equipment and his vehicle and did not allow him to get new ones. He will try to find a solution to earn some money. He and the IBJ lawyer are now waiting for the trial date, and will do their best to come with a solid defense strategy and avoid him being sentenced to imprisonment and being away from his family again.
IBJ was recently successful in helping a client name Mr. Hung Jaya from Banteay Meanchey province. Mr. Jaya was originally charged with thief of a motorbike and cell phone. Mr. Jaya lives with his family in a small village in Banteay Meanchey. He works very hard to provide for his family some of which who are elderly.
Mr. Jaya who had received a call from his cousin one evening asking him to meet him. When Mr. Jaya arrived he found out his cousin had made a call to him from a stolen cell phone as well as was in possession of a stolen motorbike. When the police were made aware of the situation they could not find Mr. Jaya's cousin and instead arrested him for the crime. Mr. Jaya was held in the police station for 2 days while waiting to be transferred to the prison. Throughout this time he consistently proclaimed his innocence. In fact, at the time of Mr. Jaya arrest he believed that all this was a mistake and that he would not be charged, but to his surprise he was charged for the crime. Mr. Jaya felt terrified and did not know what to do or how to provide for his family while he was in jail. He knew his family could not afford a lawyer and at the time of his arrest Mr. Jaya did not know all his legal rights.
It was not until one evening Mr. Jaya was listening to the radio while in prison that he heard an advertisement for IBJ services. After contacting IBJ and talking with an IBJ lawyer about his case he was made aware of his rights. IBJ helped him gather the necessary information to present to the judge. Mr. Jaya was later acquitted of all charges against him. This was due to the help IBJ lawyer 's research of the facts about the case and the eventual arrest and confession of the crime from his cousin. Mr. Jaya said he helped law enforcement locate his cousin for an eventual arrest. Mr. Jaya since getting out of jail says he is relieved that he was acquitted and is able to go back to his normal life of providing for his family. Without IBJ Mr. Jaya stated he might very well still be in prison for a crime he did not commit.
When speaking with the IBJ lawyer involved in the case the lawyer stated, that it was a difficult case in the beginning because there were no witnesses and no one could find the cousin. The case became a lot less difficult when the cousin was arrested and confessed to the crime.