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Prison officials ‘ignoring’ bail order

Officials at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison have ignored a Supreme Court order permitting the bail of activist Ly Seav Minh, whose family is embroiled in a long-running land dispute with a politically connected company, her lawyer said yesterday.

Defence lawyer Choung Choungy said he sent the April 22 Supreme Court order to the prison yesterday, but claimed officials refused to grant Seav Minh’s release, citing a lack of documentation.

This is a “violation of the judgment and discretion of the institution”, he said. “We are [attempting to] implement a decision to release her on bail made by the Supreme Court. I don’t understand why prison officials demanded documents from the Phnom Penh court and the Appeal Court. That is not right.”

Choungy called on the Interior Ministry to reprimand the prison officials.

“Don’t let them do their own thing; make them work by the law,” he said.

Prison officials could not be reached yesterday.

Seav Minh has been incarcerated since November on charges, filed by the powerful Khun Sear Import Export Company, of “using violence” against a legal property owner.

The family has been embroiled in a years-long and bitter dispute with the company over land in Phnom Penh’s Boeung Kak 2 commune. In March, the family accepted a compensation offer from Khun Sear of $160,000 to secure Seav Minh’s release.

But her brother, Ly Bun Heang, said the deal has since soured.

The company “asked us to admit that we accept all mistakes [relating to the land dispute] and gave us only $15,000 instead of $160,000. We can’t accept it,” he said.

Khun Sear representative Yim Leang could not be reached.

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