UPDATED 5 p.m. — Dissident Kung Raiya, who faces up to two years in prison on charges related to his printing of T-shirts with murdered political analyst Kem Ley’s image and words, was released on bail on Friday afternoon, his lawyer said.
Raiya was arrested in July a day before the third anniversary of Ley’s murder and later charged with “incitement to commit a felony” after promoting the shirts online to commemorate the third anniversary of the popular government critic’s killing.
Ley’s words were printed on the back of the shirts: “If you do nothing, you will certainly suffer; it is just not your turn yet.”
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Y Rin told VOD that Raiya, 28, would be released under court supervision.
He is not allowed to leave the country, change his address unless authorized by the court or post anything on social media related to his charges, Rin said.
Before his release on Friday, Raiya’s defense attorney Sam Sokong said he expected his client would be released from Prey Sar prison in the afternoon.
He was being released due to health concerns and because he is a university student, has a young daughter and elderly mother to care for, and he promised to appear in court when summoned, Sokong said.
“I feel so happy because the judge decided to release my client from detention,” the lawyer told VOD.
Raiya’s bail request had previously been denied, but Sokong said the judicial investigation was now finished so his client’s detention was no longer necessary.
“He promised to the judge he will not escape and he promised to appear every time the judge wants him to appear before the court,” he added.
The first trial hearing is scheduled for December 20, Sokhong said.
Raiya spent 18 months behind bars from 2015 to 2017 over a Facebook post calling for a color revolution.
In a separate case on Friday, the Appeal Court denied an appeal by Cambodian translator Rath Rott Mony, who was sentenced to two years in prison in June over his involvement in the production of controversial documentary “My Mother Sold Me” about alleged underage sex trafficking.
He was arrested in December 2018 after the RT film garnered the attention of authorities — some of whom called it fiction and damaging to the nation’s reputation — and after women and girls featured in the film were questioned by police.
While being escorted out of the courtroom, Rott Mony told a reporter that he would appeal his sentence to the Supreme Court.
Long Kimheang, Rott Mony’s wife, said in a Facebook post that “justice does not exist for my husband.”
Updated at 5 p.m. to note Kung Raiya’s release on bail.
Additional reporting by Khun Vanda and Ouch Sony