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Cambodia: Court of Appeal deny bail requests of five human rights defenders arrested during protests to demand the release of union leader Rong Chhun

"Court denies bail to NGO activists", 20 October 2020

The Court of Appeal … denied bail to five environmental activists from NGOs Khmer Thavrak and Mother Nature who were charged with incitement to disturb social security, saying that imprisonment is necessary to prevent them from committing further offenses.

The two activists from Khmer Thavrak, Hun Vannak and Chhoeun Daravy, were arrested … after attending a protest in support of jailed unionist Rong Chhun outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Three activists from Mother Nature – Long Kunthea, Phuon Keoreaksmey, and Thon Ratha – were arrested … over a social media post in which they announced plans to march to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s house to raise awareness on environmental issues in Phnom Penh.

Only Vannak and Ratha were present at the bail hearing, which took place behind closed doors…

Sam Chamroeun, defense lawyer for the five, said he was disappointed that the court had denied bail to the Khmer Thavrak activists and struck down the motion against detention filed on behalf of the Mother Nature members.

… Chak Sopheap, executive director at the Cambodian Center for Human Rights said the government should keep in mind that fundamental freedoms still apply to citizens even if authorities disagree with the opinion of the individual or group in question.

…, four special rapporteurs from the UN’s Human Rights Office wrote a letter to the Cambodian government requesting additional information on the legal basis for the arrest and detention of Rong Chhun and how it complies with international human rights standards…

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