Ten jailed members of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), an advocacy group that vocally opposes the ruling CPP, were questioned at the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh on Tuesday over their bid to secure bail.
The 10 men were arrested in October over actions that included distributing allegedly incendiary literature and planning a protest outside the Vietnamese Embassy. They were accused of attempting to topple the government.
Judge Phou Povsun, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing to overturn an earlier rejected bail request, said the group’s lawyer, Chuong Choungy, requested a delay in proceedings, but that the men were opposed to a postponement and so they decided to represent themselves.
“Their lawyer requested a delay to the hearing, but all the defendants said that they did not want to delay the hearing because they can defend themselves,” he said.
The judge said a verdict would be announced on April 28.
Mr. Choungy, who regularly represents members of the opposition CNRP, could not be reached.
The 10 dissidents—Liv Yi, 30; Khun Nakong, 29; Chhun Chhat, 30; Chrach Much, 24; Lat Liheng, 22; Chan Sna, 27; Chhim Smak, 57; An Chann, 35; Chan Ra, 23; and Chhay Vit, 40—are mostly laborers and farmers and all stand charged with “inciting violence” over last year’s planned protest.
Hin Sao Rey, 30, the wife of Mr. Yi, said after Tuesday’s hearing that her husband was innocent of the charge.
“My husband did not commit that crime, because he did not have weapons to oppose the government,” she said.
Am Sam Ath, technical adviser for rights group Licadho, said he believed the group’s arrest last year was politically motivated and that the 10 should be bailed given the apparent dearth of evidence against them.
“I think that [they should be], unless they did activities or had weapons to topple the government,” he said.