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Bail request for Pov as union seeks property

A union leader among 21 workers and activists arrested in January demonstrations will appear in the Court of Appeal to argue for bail next week, despite the same court denying his request last month.

Vorn Pov, president of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), and a defence attorney from the Cambodian Labour Confederation (CLC) will make Pov’s case at the Appeal Court on Monday.

The hearing comes the same day as a scheduled appearance by IDEA’s acting president, who is requesting the government return property confiscated during the January protest at the Yakjin garment factory – a request already denied at the municipal level.

“Tuk-tuk drivers in my association and I would like to get back our property, because Phnom Penh Municipal Court said we lack evidence to get it,” IDEA acting president Sok Chhun Oeung said yesterday.

Possessions seized during the crackdown include two tuk-tuks, a pair of microphones, an amplifier, a battery, several mobile phones and cash, Chhun Oeung said.

IDEA’s request for the return of its possessions comes after a Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge last week closed the investigative phase of the case, said Ham Sunrith of the Community Legal Education Center – one of the organisations providing legal defence.

Charges of intentional damage, violence and traffic law violations stem from demonstrations supporting a nationwide garment strike at Yakjin and on Veng Sreng Boulevard on January 2 and 3, respectively.

Authorities shot dead at least four people on January 3 and arrested 23 people between the two demonstrations, 21 of whom remain detained.

An appeal to the Supreme Court is pending after a February 11 Appeal Court denial of bail for the 21 defendants still behind bars, Sunrith said.

Pov is part of that group, but is also represented individually by a separate attorney as an individual, Chhun Oeung said. His individual request for bail was denied in Phnom Penh Municipal Court on January 24.

Prak Sovannary, Pov’s wife, yesterday said she hoped Pov would be allowed to physically appear in court, unlike last month’s appeal.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SEAN TEEHAN

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