An imprisoned former deputy commune chief was yesterday denied bail by Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court.
Chao Veasna, the CNRP representative in Poipet commune, was charged with incitement to riot, conspiracy to cause intentional damage with aggravating circumstances and destruction of public property following his involvement in a protest at the Poipet border crossing in May 2015.
Mr Veasna’s lawyer Choung Chou Ngy said yesterday that the announcement of a verdict on the charges was delayed by the court and would be announced at a later date.
“We asked to be released on bail, but the court rejected the case. As for the other charges, the court has yet to decide. I have already filed the appeal complaint for this case,” he said.
The announcement from the provincial court was made after it conducted a private hearing on Monday to decide on the bail request.
Soeung Sopheoun, Mr Veasna’s son-in-law, said he and his family regretted that bail was denied because it meant Mr Veasna would not be able to see family or seek medical treatment.
The 38-year-old said he visited his father-in-law often and yesterday noticed that his health was in decline.
“My father will not avoid the court proceedings. The charges against him do not seem to be specific,” he said. “He was an authority in the commune, so he went to see the workers protesting on behalf of the authorities, which did not incite the workers to cause violence.”
On May 25, 2015, approximately 150 porters gathered to protest with customs officials at the Poipet border over increased taxes on goods transported by cart in and out of the border gate.
The protest resulted in violence between porters and police and caused damage to seven vehicles belonging to Poipet Customs and Excise and other public property.
Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said there seemed to be a double standard in Mr Veasna’s case as Poipet city governor Ngor Meng Chroun also attended the 2015 protest and coordinated with the protesters.
He added Mr Veasna was denied bail because the provincial court was afraid he could affect witnesses, affect court proceedings or threaten witnesses.
“The important thing about Mr Chao Veasna is that he does not have any power because his party was dissolved, and he is not a civil servant, so the provincial court should not be worried,” he said.
“He has a real address and should be allowed bail or placed under the supervision of the court.”