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Five strikes: Official for CNRP loses bail hearing

Imprisoned Cambodian-American opposition official Meach Sovannara was yesterday denied bail for a fifth time – leading his lawyer to conclude he has “no hope” that further appeals will render a different result.

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a January Appeal Court decision to deny bail to the CNRP information head, who has been charged with serious crimes including leading an insurrection in connection with an opposition-led protest at Freedom Park in July that turned violent.

Judge Oeung Sieng declared that Sovannara should not be out on bail because “he led an insurrection” despite the fact he is yet to be convicted.

Sovannara sobbed as he was led out of the courtroom.

“I can see that this is politically motivated. So if [CNRP] leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha do not have a meeting [with Prime Minister Hun Sen], I will remain without hope,” he said.

Defendants are able to file repeated bail applications in the Cambodian court system, as Sovannara has done, but his lawyer, Choung Choungy, said such efforts appeared to have been a waste of time. Sovannara was arrested on November 11.

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