Picture: KKF members welcome the former monks at the airport
Members of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation and the general Khmer community in Philadelphia, USA are today celebrating the arrival of Khmer Krom latest heroes and human rights activists, Tim Sakhorn, Danh Ton and Kim Mouen. On 8th February 2007, two hundred Khmer Krom Buddhist monks from Khleang (renamed Soc Trang) conducted a peaceful demonstration demanding religious freedom. Five monks, amongst them Danh Tol and Kim Mouen were forced to disrobed by Vietnamese authorities and sent to prison for 2 to 5 years. Nabbed as the “Khmer Krom hero that rose from the delta”, Tim Sakhorn was a Khmer ‐Krom Buddhist monk and also an Abbot of North Phnom‐Denh temple in Phnom‐Denh village, Karivong District, Takeo province, Cambodia. On June 2007, he was defrocked and then deported to Vietnam by the Cambodian government for an alleged crime of undermining the relationship between Vietnam and Cambodia. In 2009, Kim Moeun and Danh Ton fled Vietnam after being released from prison and made the perilous journey through Cambodia to Thailand seeking asylum. When Tim Sakhorn was allowed to visit Cambodia for his mother’s funeral in April, 2009, he too fled to Thailand on a motorbike. They were accepted by the Sweden government later the same year. Today, they are celebrating their survival and sharing their stories to the world. The former monks are expected to attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues this coming week, travel to Washington DC and visit Khmer and Khmer Krom community around the USA to testify against the Vietnam government and tell the world the reality in Kampuchea-Krom.