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Activist trio’s bail appeal thwarted

Activist trio’s bail appeal thwarted

The Appeal Court yesterday denied bail to three environmental activists arrested in mid-August over their opposition to sand dredging in Koh Kong province.

The three activists from local campaigning NGO Mother Nature – Try Sovikea, Sun Mala and Lem Samnang – were jailed on August 17 in the province’s Botum Sakor district following complaints from the local authorities and the Direct Access company, which the activists suspected of illegal sand mining operations.

The three were accused of “threatening to cause damage” by taking part in direct actions against the firm over several days.

Am Sam Ath, senior investigator with rights group Licadho, said he was disappointed by the decision.

He argued they should have been released as they met the requirements under Cambodian law: they have permanent addresses, promised to take part in every stage of the court case and have full-time jobs.

He added that the defence lawyers would forward the case to the provincial court again in early October.

But on August 31, a Koh Kong judge, Chhun Davy, already denied the three bail.

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