Trial verdict delayed for former CNRP official denied bail

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Chao Veasna, former Poipet commune chief, appears at the Supreme Court last year. He was tried with nine others on Monday over a 2015 protest that turned violent in the border town. Pha Lina

Jailed former commune chief Chao Veasna was denied bail Tuesday morning by the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court, which postponed a verdict on charges he and nine others face related to a 2015 violent protest in the border town of Poipet.

Veasna was arrested in February 2017, nearly two years after the 2015 protest in which porters threw rocks at a Poipet Customs Department office and security officials opened fire to disperse the crowds.

The former Cambodia National Rescue Party official and local unionist Mang Puthy are charged with incitement and being accomplices to destruction of property. Both contend they were only observing the protest.

Eight porters face property destruction charges.

After the trial yesterday, the court said it would announce a verdict in the case, and a bail decision for Veasna on Tuesday morning. However, the court has only denied the former commune official’s bail plea, delaying a verdict on the other charges, said Choung Choungy, Veasna’s lawyer.

“The court did not allow him to get bail. The verdict for the charges was delayed to later without giving a date,” he said. He said the bail rejection would be appealed.

Veasna was hospitalized last June for an appendix surgery. His family has consistently cited his ill health as a reason he should be released.

“He requested for bail because his had high blood pressure and was very weak, but the court rejected it,” said Veasna’s son, Chao Khemra.