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Bail Denied for 21 Labor Activists

  • Suy Heimkhemra
  • VOA Khmer

Protesters raise clenched fists with banners printed with detained activist Von Pov in front of the Appeals Court during a rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, March 24, 2014.

Protesters raise clenched fists with banners printed with detained activist Von Pov in front of the Appeals Court during a rally in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, March 24, 2014.

The Court of Appeals on Monday denied bail for 21 labor activists who have been detained since brutal demonstration crackdowns in January.

The detainees had sought release on bail, with several claiming serious injuries from police beatings during the crackdown.

Critics say the 21 are being held without bail as a tactic to intimidate other would-be protesters.

Long Vuthy, an advocacy worker for the NGO IDEA, said the decision, which followed a short, two-hour hearing, appeared politically motivated.

Supporters say detainees like Von Pov, who was injured in the crackdown, need medical care. Von Pov is “severely ill,” Long Vuthy said.

Von Pov’s wife, Prak Sovanary, 30, wept outside the court Monday as she called for her husband’s release.

“He is a good man and works for the public,” she said. “The court’s verdict is unjust. I just want my husband out of custody.”

Von Pov was not brought before the court for a third time, a violation of his rights, said Chan Saveth, senior investigator for the rights group Adhoc. “So he cannot defend himself.”
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