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Municipal Court frees Kong Raiya on bail

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
Police escort Kong Raiya at the court. KT/Siv Channa

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has granted bail to activist Kong Raiya, who was charged with incitement to commit a felony over the sale of t-shirts of slain political analyst Kem Ley.

Judge Ouk Reth Kunthea yesterday said the court had decided to release Raiya, 28, on Friday but has banned him from using Facebook for political purposes or travel abroad.

He said that Raiya is required to show up for his trial on December 20.

Mr Ley, a government critic, was shot and killed at a Caltex gas station in Chamkar Mon district in 2016 as he was having his morning coffee.

Although Oeuth Ang confessed to being the gunman, supporters like Raiya were sceptical whether the man was solely responsible.

Raiya was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court on July 11 after his arrest on July 9 for allegedly putting up the t-shirts for sale over Facebook.

He and his wife took to Facebook to sell the t-shirts bearing Mr Ley’s photo with his quotes at the back.

“If you do nothing, you will be victimised. It is just not your turn yet,” one t-shirt said, quoting Mr Ley.

In a post accompanying the sale offer, Raiya also allegedly urged activists to mark the death anniversary of Mr Ley at the gas station where he was killed, an event which had been banned by City Hall to maintain public order.

Raiya yesterday said that he is innocent and will show up in court on December 20.

“I keep wondering what I did wrong ever since I was arrested,” he said, noting that he was only selling the t-shirts to earn a living.

“The quotes are Kem Lay’s, not mine,” Raiya said. “The authorities did not act against him [Kem Ley] when he was alive, so why are they only focusing on me?”

His lawyer Sam Sokong yesterday said his client is now in need of medical treatment for himself and his mother.

“The judge considered these circumstances and released my client on bail,” he noted. My client and I will attend the trial and request the judge to drop the charge against him.”

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