PHNOM PENH —
The Court of Appeals last month has denied a request by three environmental activists to be freed on bail.
The three activists, from Mother Nature Cambodia, will remain in detention in the coastal province of Koh Kong, where they are accused of threatening to cause damage to property in a campaign to stop sand dredging there.
The decision comes despite a visit to the province from the UN’s special envoy for human rights, Rhona Smith, in September.
In Kongchet, Koh Kong coordinator for rights group Licadho, said the Appeals Court upheld the decision of Koh Kong provincial court, on grounds the released activists could commit more alleged crimes or destroy evidence against them. He urged Koh Kong court to hasten the case, in light of the rights of the defendants to a speedy trial.
“Previously, the people who took part in the campaigns with them said that these three activists did not commit any wrongdoing,” he said. “Thus, the investigating judge of the provincial court of Koh Kong should rush to wrap up the inquiry and transfer the case to the prosecutor in order to come up with a solution.”
The three activists are Sun Mala, 23, co-founder of Mother Nature Cambodia; Try Sovikea, 24; and Sim Samnang, 26.
Bou Bung Hang, prosecutor of the provincial court declined to comment, referring the questions to investigating judge Chhun Davy, who also could not be reached for comment.