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Jailed senator Hong Sok Hour requested bail yesterday.
Jailed senator Hong Sok Hour requested bail yesterday. Pha Lina

Ill senator requests bail

Jailed opposition senator Hong Sok Hour has requested Cambodia’s Supreme Court grant him temporary bail on medical grounds, promising to deposit 20 million riel ($5,000) and his French and Cambodian passports.

Appearing before the court yesterday, Sok Hour said he needed bail to avail medical treatment for his blood pressure, as well as a stomach ailment and a cold, which, he said, he contracted from other prisoners in jail.

“Please give me bail and I promise there will be no chaos or insecurity after I leave prison,” Sok Hour said.

Sok Hour, who was arrested last August, is charged with forging a public document, using a forged public document and incitement to cause serious unrest, after he posted on Facebook a “fake” section of the 1979 border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam last August.

While Supreme Court prosecutor Nov Monichot rejected Sok Hour’s plea for bail, saying that given the criminal nature of the case the defendant could “disturb public order”, Choung Choungy, Sok Hour’s defence lawyer, said his client’s position as a senator gave him immunity and that he should be given bail as he is yet to be convicted.

The court’s decision is expected on March 4. In a separate case yesterday, 25-year-old university student Kong Raya, who was arrested for allegedly calling for a “color revolution” on his Facebook page, asked the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to release him after he claimed he had no real intention to topple the current government.

Raya said his post was more for “entertainment” than a serious threat to the government, adding that he learned the term “colour revolution” from his professor and thought it meant non-violent demonstration without any expectation of mobilising protestors.

“I did not expect people would gather and join this,” he said. “I just wrote what I felt after I finished class.” In a separate post on one of his three Facebook accounts, Raya also called King Norodom Sihamoni a “scarecrow” for signing the NGO law and likened Hun Sen to “cow dung”, only to now claim that it was a mistake and his observations were merely “constructive criticisms”.

Accused for incitement to commit crime, Raya’s case will be decided on March 14.

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