Four garment workers arrested during a strike in Bavet in December are to be released on bail next week, following a decision yesterday morning by the Court of Appeals in Phnom Penh, according to their attorney.
The four – all men – were arrested on December 18 during protests over the national garment sector minimum wage that turned violent. Each were charged with violence, damage and incitement to commit crime, and entered into pre-trial detention at Svay Rieng provincial prison.
Yesterday’s hearing at the Court of Appeals focused strictly on the bail request, not the charges themselves, defence lawyer Heng Bun said, adding that she hoped her clients – Van Vicheat, 24, Kong Phros, 27, Pal Dinmalyda, 28, and Kheng Sokha, 31 – would be released next week.
“After the hearing, the judges decided to release them, but they are waiting on legal documents from the Court of Appeals and the provincial court,” Bun said. Her clients remain in detention pending completion of the documents.
Svay Rieng provincial prosecutor Kong Chan Khemarith was not yet aware of the decision to release the four men yet, he said. Nguon Rattana, one of the judges on the case, could not be reached for comment.
But Bun said their request for release on bail had been approved as none of the workers had been previously engaged in crime. “They are not ordered to deposit money, but they are banned from engaging in any protests,” she said.