CNRP Lawmaker Denied Bail; Investigation Continues

Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An, who was imprisoned last month over a Facebook post in which he accused the government of illegal border demarcation, was again denied release on bail on Tuesday by the Appeal Court.

“This case is still being investigated…and therefore we cannot release him on bail,” Presiding Judge Phou Povsun said, adding that there were other reasons, which he declined to outline.

Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An enters the Appeal Court on Tuesday in Phnom Penh, where his request for bail was once again rejected on the grounds that his release could disrupt an ongoing investigation and cause social turmoil. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Opposition lawmaker Um Sam An enters the Appeal Court on Tuesday in Phnom Penh, where his request for bail was once again rejected on the grounds that his release could disrupt an ongoing investigation and cause social turmoil. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

Mr. Sam An’s lawyer Choung Chou Ngy said the court also reasoned that releasing the lawmaker would “cause turmoil in society.”

Despite his parliamentary immunity as a lawmaker, Mr. Sam An was arrested upon returning from the U.S. last month under an “in flagrante dilecto” provision that allows lawmakers to be arrested when caught in the act of a crime.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has argued the clause applied in the case because the offending post was still available online.

Mr. Chou Ngy said the reasoning was unsound, adding that he would file another appeal with the Supreme Court for his client’s release.

“The post on his Facebook was from 2015, so how is it a red-handed crime?” he said.

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