Three men arrested for their alleged involvement in distributing T-shirts for the government-opposed Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM) had their bail requests denied yesterday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after more than 16 months in pre-trial detention.
Presiding judge Top Chhunheng said Serey Bunlong, 30, Seng Sokmeng, 31, and Um Phirum, 28, had been charged with treason for their reported role in distributing the shirts – which admonished citizens not to vote in an election that “is not free and fair” – in Phnom Penh, Poipet and Takeo province in 2013.
Defence lawyer Sok Sam Oeun said his clients’ prolonged detention was tantamount to a sentence without trial. What’s more, he added, they were “just involved in wearing and distributing T-shirts, which were obtained from a politician”.
Bunlong denied belonging to the KPPM, saying he had simply met head Sourn Serey Ratha when he visited Poipet and asked for help distributing T-shirts.