The Appeal Court on Tuesday rejected the bail requests of Kung Raiya and Suong Neakpaon, who were charged with incitement last month.
The court’s Trial Chamber, led by Judge Khun Leang Meng, on Tuesday held a hearing on the bail requests of Raiya and Neakpaon and decided to keep them in jail, said Sam Sokong, the defence lawyer representing the two.
“The judges issued two decisions. One – rejecting the bail requests, and two – upholding the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision. The court allowed them to appeal against the decisions as the law permits,” Sokong said.
Raiya and Neakpaon were arrested, charged and placed in pre-trial detention last month during the third-anniversary commemoration of slain political analyst Kem Ley who was murdered on July 10, 2016. Both were charged with “incitement to commit a felony”.
Sokong said the hearing was held in absentia as the court said a summons was issued according to legal procedures, but prison officials failed to escort the men to the hearing.
He said he asked the court to delay the hearing and wait for his clients to arrive, but the request was denied.
“Holding the hearing in absentia was a violation of [their] rights,” he said, adding that his clients wished to present more evidence and facts to the court.
He said he would talk to his clients and appeal the court’s decision.
Nouth Savna, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons, said he had checked with Prey Sar prison and was informed that the prison had not received a summons to escort Raiya and Neakpaon to the hearing.
However, Appeal Court spokesman Touch Tharith insisted that the court had issued a summons for Raiya and Neakpaon according to the procedure.
“We’ve issued the summons. The judge sent it to the prosecutor, and the prosecutor sent out the summons according to procedure. Hearings at the court cannot proceed without having summoned the defendants,” he said.
However, Tharith said Tuesday’s hearing was not against due process because the defendants were represented by their lawyer who could advocate on their behalf.