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Appeals Court Rejects Bail for 21 Activists

Cambodian Buddhist monks run together with supporters of Cambodian National Rescue Party from a rally site of the Democracy Square in Phnom Penh, file photo.
The Cambodian Court of Appeals has denied bail to 21 detained labor protesters, setting the stage for more demonstrations on their behalf.

Following a three-hour, closed-door hearing in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, judge Kun Leang Meng said he would not allow the 21 activists to be released because they posed a threat to public security.

The 21 detainees were among 23 arrested in deadly labor protest crackdowns in January. Two people were released on bail last week.

Outside the court, Prak Sovanary, the 30-year-old wife of detainee Von Pov, told reporters she will appeal to the Supreme Court. “The court and the government doing this, it means they are very cruel to their own people,” she said.

Defense attorney Sam Sok Kong said he and more lawyers will discuss how to appeal the decision.

Nearly 100 activists gathered outside the court to demand a release of the detainees, though they were later dispersed by riot police.

Ny Chakrya, head of investigation for the rights group Adhoc, said the cases against the detainees are politicized. They are being held for their support of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, he said.