CNRP Lawmakers-Elect Released From Prison

Seven CNRP lawmakers-elect and a party activist who were imprisoned last week for their alleged roles in a violent protest on June 15 were released on bail from Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison at 4:45 p.m.

The release came hours after Prime Minister Hun Sen and opposition leader Sam Rainsy reached an agreement that will see the CNRP end their nearly yearlong boycott of the National Assembly.

“The court warrant has arrived and they have been released now. They are walking out of the prison right now,” said Sam Sokong, a lawyer on the CNRP’s defense team.

Lawmakers-elect Mu Sochua, Keo Phirum, Men Sothavrin, Ho Vann, Real Camerin, Nuth Rumduol and Long Ry, as well as Ms. Sochua’s assistant Oeur Narith, were sent to prison last week after a violent brawl broke out last week with opposition protesters brutally beating a number of Daun Penh district security guards.

The eight were charged with leading an insurrection and incitement to commit a felony, both under aggravated circumstances. The charges carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Ms. Sochua, who was held in Prey Sar’s Correctional Center 2, exited the prison separately from the seven men in the group, who were held in the prison’s Correctional Center 1.

Outside the prison, about 1,000 CNRP supporters had gathered in expectation of the release, despite torrential rains throughout the afternoon.

The CNRP has admitted that some of its supporters were involved in the violence, but insisted that the charged lawmakers-elect attempted to restore peace once the clash broke out, and had no part in the beatings.

The protesters were calling for the opening of Freedom Park, which has been off-limits to the public since January, when the government clamped down on demonstrations following its deadly suppression of garment worker protests on January 2 and 3.

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