CNRP Negotiates Release of Activists, Lawyer Says

A lawyer and lawmaker for the CNRP said Friday that the opposition party has negotiated the release of 10 land activists imprisoned over protests in November, and for the courts to hold a bail hearing next week for three monks and six CNRP figures also imprisoned over protests last year.

Word of the deal comes the day after lawmakers from the CNRP and CPP approved nine members of the new National Election Committee during a plenary session of parliament on Thursday, finalizing a central component of the July political deal that ended the CNRP’s 10-month boycott of parliament.

Opposition lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang told reporters at the National Assembly on Friday that documents were being prepared to pardon the imprisoned activists—which include Tep Vanny and eight other members of the Boeng Kak community—and hold a bail hearing for the monks and CNRP activists, including prominent official Meach Sovannara.

“Now they are doing the paperwork to send to the court to release all of them,” Mr. Chhay Eang said. “For Boeng Kak people, they will be pardoned, and Meach Sovannara’s group will ask for bail and the three monks will also ask for bail.”

CNRP lawyer Choung Choungy predicted that all 18 prisoners would be released Monday, when a bail hearing would be held for the monks and CNRP activists.

“Based on my prediction, they will be released on Monday evening. This is the political resolution between the leadership of the CPP and CNRP.” Mr. Choungy said.

Spokesmen for the CPP said they could not confirm the agreement.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy said that he and Prime Minister Hun Sen had discussed the release of the prisoners, but declined to comment on the outcome of those discussions.

“Yes, [there was a discussion] between Hun Sen and me directly. It concerns the liberation of all the prisoners whose detention is related to incidents that have occurred since the election,” he said, referring to the disputed July 2013 national election.

“I don’t want to elaborate on this, I prefer to see the result first before making any comment. Now, we are just working hard to get all the prisoners released as soon as possible,” he said. “And if possible, before the Cambodian new year,” which begins on Tuesday.

Mr. Rainsy said he did not think it would be “prudent” to comment on Mr. Choungy’s prediction.

“He is a lawyer, obviously there is something happening at the court level—lawyers have been informed—but I think that everybody should respect some discretion,” he said.

“Because as long as it is not done, it is not done.”

(Additional reporting by Colin Meyn and Kuch Naren)

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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that 19 prisoners are expected to be released next week. Eighteen prisoners are expected to be set free. 

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