The Appeal Court yesterday rejected the bail applications of four Adhoc staffers and one National Election Committee official on the grounds that the case was still in the investigation stage and their release could affect “social stability”.
The hearing, which began early and lasted all morning, ended with the Appeal Court upholding the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to deny the five bail, more than a month after they were charged with bribing a witness.
Jailed NEC official Ny Chakrya’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, said the conditions of bail had been met by the five but the judge refused to consider this, adding that the denial impinged on their rights.
“Getting bail is a suspect’s right, which is stated in national and international law,” he said.
Upon exiting the court, jailed Adhoc staffer Ny Sokha said that if the courts were independent the five would have been given bail by now.
The five will now approach the Supreme Court next week to file another bail application. They are accused of asking salon worker Khom Chandaraty, an alleged mistress of CNRP leader Kem Sokha, to lie under testimony and deny her relationship with Sokha.
Meanwhile, Borei Keila activist Sor Sorn was arrested and later released after she and nine land activists joined other supporters outside the Appeals Court, holding banners demanding the release of the five jailed activists.
Sorn was let go only after changing out of her black clothes, which she had worn as part of the civil society-backed Black Monday campaign that calls for the five’s release.