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Activists Accused of ‘Insurrection’ Released on Bail

Opposition activists are being taken back to a detention center after Phnom Penh court postponed hearing, file photo.

Eight political activists, including members of the opposition party and monks, were released from detention on bail Monday.

The release comes following final negotiations and the approval of a new National Election Committee last week.

The released activists include US citizen Meach Sovannara and others accused of inciting an “insurrection” in the wake of demonstrations that turned violent in July 2014, when protesters in support of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party turned on guards hired by the city to prevent public assembly.

The release comes after royal pardons were issued for 10 women housing rights activists and one monk over the weekend. The Rescue Party held a Buddhist blessing for the activists following their release.

A total of 19 activists have been released since the Rescue Party and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party came to a deal on the reorganization of the National Election Committee, a key electoral reform.

Speaking to journalists after the bail hearing, Choung Chou Ngy, a lawyer for the activists, said the court case is not over and that his clients are only out on bail.

Nget Khun, a 76-year-old activist, said she should not have been arrested in the first place. She had protested the flooding of her neighborhood and was asking for help from City Hall.

“I am not happy, because I have not done anything wrong,” she said on her release. “But they arrested and imprisoned me [regardless].”