Home News Jailed activists in Cambodia decry court decision to refuse bail requests

Jailed activists in Cambodia decry court decision to refuse bail requests

Fellow Cambodian activists described the hearing this week as “a joke”

Jailed Cambodian activists and their families decried a court decision that denied their bail requests early this week.

Labor and border activist Rong Chhun and youth activist Sar Kanika said they are disappointed of the court decision.

Chhun, a member of the Cambodian Watchdog Council, was charged with “incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest” and jailed at Prey Sar Prison in Phnom Penh since August 2020.

He was arrested after claiming that the Cambodian government had allowed Vietnam to encroach on farmland along the two countries’ shared border.

Kanika, who is affiliated with the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, was detained and jailed in 2020 after protesting Chhun’s arrest.

Ouk Chayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, described the hearing of the activists’ case on Tuesday, June 8, as “a joke.”

“They are trying people who have sacrificed for the country and helped the country,” said Chayavy as he expressed concern over the health of the activists after a COVID-19 outbreak in the prison.

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Meanwhile, former Radio Free Asia reporters Yeang Sothearin and Uon Chhin requested that court officials expedite or drop almost four-year-old cases against them.

The journalists said the delay of their trials have violated their rights and freedom and prevented them from finding jobs.

Yeang Sothearin, who worked as an editor, reporter, and news anchor for RFA’s Khmer Service, and Uon Chhin, who was an RFA photographer and videographer, were taken into custody in November 2017 and charged with “illegally collecting information for a foreign source.”

RFA closed its bureau in the Cambodian capital in September that year amid a government crackdown on independent media.

The two were also slapped with additional charges for illegally producing pornography in March 2018.

If convicted of the first charge, they could face a jail term of between seven and 15 years. They remain out on bail but in legal limbo after a series of appeals have been rejected by courts. – with a report from Radio Free Asia

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