Court Denies Bail for Three Suspected Militants

The Appeals Court on Tuesday re­jected an appeal to release on bail three men suspected of be­longing to the militant group Je­maah Islamiyah, despite their prolonged imprisonment beyond the le­gal pre-trial detention period.

“We are keeping the Municipal Court’s decision [to keep the men in jail] because if we free them, they will commit serious crimes,” Ap­peals Court Judge Saly Theara told the court.

Thai nationals Abdul Azi Haji Chi­ming and Muhammad Yala­ludin Mading, and Egyptian Esam Mo­hammed Khidr Ali, were ar­rest­ed on May 25, 2003. They have been jailed for 19 months in Phnom Penh’s PJ prison awaiting trial.

Cambodian law does not allow anyone to be jailed more than six months without trial.

The men have been charged un­der a terrorism law un­der an article pertaining to at­tempted murder. The court, however, has yet to produce evidence linking the suspects to a crime.

Though they were brought to the Appeals Court for a brief hearing Monday, they remained in PJ pri­son Tuesday and were not present for the announcement of the court’s decision.

Their lawyer, Kao Soupha, said he was “very disappointed” with the court decision.

“This is very un­just,” he said. “I worked hard for my cli­ents, although I got little result.”

He said he would write a complaint to the Supreme Court to ap­peal for their release. A trial date has not yet been set.

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