The Court of Appeal on Friday denied bail to Meach Sovannara, an opposition CNRP official who was detained last month for his role in a violent clash at Freedom Park on July 15, and Ouk Pich Samnang, a political activist who was arrested for driving his tuk-tuk through a security barricade during a protest in October.
Mr. Sovannara—who was detained in Phnom Penh last month after an arrest warrant was issued on charges of “joining an insurrection”—said that he believed the decision to deny him bail was politically motivated.
“Other people were arrested at the same time; why were they released and I am still detained?” Mr. Sovannara asked after the hearing, in reference to seven opposition lawmakers-elect and another CNRP official who were arrested and sent to Prey Sar prison in July. The group was freed as a result of a political deal between opposition leader Sam Rainsy and Prime Minister Hun Sen a week after the clash.
“This is revenge from Mr. Hun Sen but we will find justice,” he said, adding that he would appeal the decision.
Presiding Judge Khun Leang Meng said the Court of Appeal decided not to bail Mr. Sovannara “because the [Municipal Court] closed its investigation and sent it to trial.”
In a separate case, the Court of Appeal also refused to bail Mr. Pich Samnang, who was charged with causing damage to public property and obstructing the work of authorities after smashing his tuk-tuk through a barrier near Mr. Hun Sen’s house during a protest with villagers involved in a land dispute.
“I am not scared. None of my activities have been criminal,” said Mr. Pich Samnang after leaving the closed hearing.
Ly Sochetra, Mr. Pich Samnang’s lawyer, confirmed the decision would be appealed and said the court denied his client bail due to concerns that he may reoffend.