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UN rapporteur visits Mam Sonando

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Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando flashes the peace sign at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this year. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

 

UN special rapporteur Surya Subedi yesterday met with imprisoned Beehive Radio owner Mam Sonando as part of his mission to address the delays in judicial reform in Cambodia.

“I met this morning with Mr Mam Sonando in Correctional Centre 1. The purpose of the visit was to express support for Mr Sonando, to inquire as to the conditions of his detention and the conduct of his appeal,” Subedi told the Post.

He declined to discuss in detail his “private conversation” with Sonando.

The visit coincided with the scheduling of a bail hearing for 70-year-old Sonando, which will take place at the Court of Appeal on Friday.

Sar Sovann, one of Sonando’s defence lawyers, told the Post yesterday the defence team would use the opportunity to request that Sonando be released on bail until his appeal.

The defence team is ultimately hoping for a retrial in what many rights groups and international observers have called a sham conviction against the president of the Association of Democrats.

Subedi said he had found Sonando in “good spirits”.

“His conviction remains deeply troubling to me. I have intervened on his behalf and will continue to monitor his case, as well as other cases that give me cause for concern.”

Subedi is in the Kingdom to review progress on recommendations he made to the government more than two years ago on improvements and reform necessary for the beleaguered judicial system.

Sonando was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his part in a so-called secessionist movement against the government. He denies the veracity of the court’s findings against him.

Dinn Thanara, Sonando’s wife, yesterday called again for the court to deliver true justice to her husband and release him from prison.

Thanara said that although her husband’s health was currently positive, she hoped the court would grant him bail tomorrow.

 

 

To contact the reporters on this story: Bridget Di Certo at bridget.dicerto@phnompenhpost.com ; Phak Seangly at seangly.phak@phnompenhpost.com

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