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'Appeal Court, not bail’ for trio

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Keo Mony said yesterday that the bail requests of three jailed Cambodia National Rescue Party activists will be sent to the Appeal Court today, contrary to a prediction by opposition leader Sam Rainsy that the trio would be summarily released.

On Saturday, the CNRP president visited the youths – who were arrested for their alleged involvement in a violent protest in Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park last month – and told reporters that their release would likely come today, in the spirit of the political resolution that saw the opposition agree to enter parliament.

“[Their jail time] is not long,” Rainsy said on Saturday.

“We believe that [their release] will be the completion of the joint resolution.”

But Mony said the release was far from assured and would be up to the higher court.

“I have not issued an order to release yet. I will send this case to the Appeal Court tomorrow,” he said. “I do not speak about politics. I only speak about the procedure of law.”

Activists Kheun Chumroeun, San Kim Heng and Neang Sokhun were arrested and jailed on August 2 for allegedly taking part in an opposition rally at Freedom Park on July 15 that saw protesters turn on and badly beat several members of Daun Penh district’s notorious security force.

Ket Khy, a lawyer for the three youths, said yesterday he had filed a bail request to the Phnom Penh court last week but it had been turned down by Mony.

“I then filed [a motion] to the Appeal Court on Friday against the ruling that refused to release [my clients], and I filed . . . to ask for their release [on Monday],” Khy said.

After swearing in at parliament, Rainsy sent a letter to Interior Minister Sar Kheng seeking his help in securing the activists’ release, again invoking the spirit of political resolution. Kheng and ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could not be reached for comment.

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