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Opposition Member Will Remain in Detention, Ministry Says

Cambodian land eviction victims wait for delivering a petition in front of U.S. Embassy to Cambodia during a rally, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. They demanded to release other land activists who were arrested during a protest.

Officials at the Ministry of Justice say they cannot transfer the case of a jailed opposition supporter away from the authorities.

The Cambodia National Rescue Party had written a request to the ministry to release Meach Sovannara, who was arrested last week on a warrant pertaining to violent demonstrations in July.

But ministry officials said in a response to the party the case must remain with the courts.

Meach Sovannara, a former Radio Free Asia reporter, is facing a hefty sentence on charges of insurrection, for allegedly orchestrating violence in a July 15 protest.

He has denied the charges, saying he called on protesters to practice non-violence.

The demonstration later devolved, with protesters turning on security guards, leading to several arrests of opposition members, and, last week, Meach Sovannara.