Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Supreme Court rejects bail for former CNRP deputy commune chief

Supreme Court rejects bail for former CNRP deputy commune chief

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former Poipet Commune Chief Chao Veasna appears at the Supreme Court on 2017. Post staff

Supreme Court rejects bail for former CNRP deputy commune chief

The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied a bail request from a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) deputy commune chief who was last year sentenced to five years in prison following a protest in front of the Poipet Customs Department building in Banteay Meanchey province in 2015.

Presiding Judge Soeng Panhavuth read the court’s verdict in front of the defendant, Chao Veasna, also known as Veng, at the close of the trial. He had earlier listened to submissions from Veasna and his defence lawyer Chuong Choungy.

Panhavuth denied 55-year-old Veasna’s request to be released on bail, upholding a previous verdict by the Appeal Court.

“The verdict of the Supreme Court was made because questions of law, in this case, are still under review by the Supreme Court, so the defendant is not allowed to be released on bail because he needs to be involved in further court proceedings,” Panhavuth said.

After the verdict had been delivered, defence lawyer Choungy told The Post on Wednesday that he was disappointed because Veasna’s request for bail was reasonable.

“In Chao Veasna’s case, the facts of the case are still being reviewed by the Supreme Court – the case is not concluded yet. Even if the Supreme Court finds my client guilty, it’s not too late,” he added.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Choungy told the court that his client needed to be released on bail because he was unwell. He said Veasna had blood poisoning and liver problems, and in the past, he had suffered from appendicitis.

“He has a permanent house and a job. He would not run away,” he continued.

A court report on May 25, 2015, said Veasna joined a group of porters who staged a protest in front of the Poipet Customs Department building.

The porters demanded that officers at the Poipet border checkpoint stop demanding 70 baht ($2.24) for each cart. They also called for a face-to-face meeting with the department’s officials.

At around 10am, some porters started overturning their carts, blocking the road and burning car tyres.

The protest continued until noon, when a group of porters stormed into the customs building, destroying public property and setting six vehicles belonging to customs officials on fire.

Veasna was not arrested until February 2017, more than a year and a half after the incident. He had said he was targeted for arrest as he was running in last year’s commune elections.

On June 7, 2018, Veasna and seven others were sentenced by Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court to five years in prison for incitement and collusion in damaging state property.

Veasna filed a complaint to the Appeal Court but on October 19, 2018, the court upheld the provincial court’s verdict. Veasna then filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Support of CNRP return online will lead to arrest’

    Anyone posting messages supporting the return of Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), on social media will be arrested, the Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday. Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told The Post on Monday that authorities

  • Police conduct raid on Orchid massage parlour

    Thirty-seven people, including three minors, were detained after Phnom Penh Municipal Police and the Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection raided the Orchid massage parlour in Sen Sok district’s Phnom Penh Thmey commune on Monday. The 27-room massage parlour is believed to have

  • Gov’t: US allows Rainsy terrorism

    The US is allowing Sam Rainsy to use its territory to carry out terrorist activities against Cambodia, government spokesman Phay Siphan charged on Thursday. Joining in the salvo, an academic said the US is also using Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia

  • Minimum wage set at $190 for 2020

    Next year’s basic minimum wage has been increased by 4.4 per cent to $190 a month from $170 per month last year after the final round of negotiations ended in a vote last week, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced. A ministry press release said