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Supreme Court denies bail request in incitement case over Ley T-shirts

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Kung Raiya at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh on October 28. The court has rejected his bail request. Hong Menea

Supreme Court denies bail request in incitement case over Ley T-shirts

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a bail request by Kung Raiya, who has been charged with incitement for printing T-shirts with the image of slain political analyst Kem Ley ahead of the third anniversary of his murder.

Announcing the ruling in absentia, Presiding Judge Khim Bun said the court decided after deliberating on Raiya’s plea during a trial on October 28.

“We do not allow the accused to be free from detention because [the Phnom Penh Municipal Court] has closed its investigation and referred the case to the presiding judge already,” he said.

During last week’s hearing, Raiya said he was the breadwinner with his wife and one-year-old daughter under his care.

Speaking outside the Supreme Court on Monday, his 24-year-old wife Sok Srey Nich said the ruling was an injustice as Raiya, she claimed, did not commit any crime as alleged.

She said the fact that her husband printed the T-shirts with Kem Ley image and the related message was freedom of expression.

“Now the breadwinner is in trouble, so the burden falls on me. I have already stopped selling T-shirts with the image of Kem Ley,” she said.

Raiya was arrested on July 11 and was charged with incitement for calling on the public to buy the T-shirts before the third anniversary of Ley’s murder on July 10, 2016. The Appeal Court denied his bail request in absentia in August this year.

Defence lawyer Sam Sokong, who was not present during the Supreme Court trial, said on Tuesday that the ruling was unacceptable.

“The court’s denial of the bail request does not render justice for my client. It’s a decision to close any complaint or appeal,” he said.

He said Raiya only sold the T-shirts for profit to support his family.

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