Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

Election official and former Adhoc staffer Ny Chakrya is escorted out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after his hearing.
Election official and former Adhoc staffer Ny Chakrya is escorted out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after his hearing. Niem Chheng

Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

The four officials from local rights group Adhoc and the National Election Committee (NEC) official jailed six months ago for “bribing” the alleged mistress of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha will remain in jail for up to six more months without trial, a judge ruled yesterday.

Adhoc’s Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda and Lim Mony, and the NEC’s Ny Chakrya – also a former top official at Adhoc – were jailed in April for allegedly offering $204 to the family of Khom Chandaraty, who accused them of telling her to deny the alleged affair.

They have since been in pre-trial detention, and after questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, they said judge Theam Chan Piseth had extended their detention for further investigation.

“The judge decided to delay the detention for another six months. I do not understand why,” Mony told reporters outside the courtroom.

Vanda, meanwhile, appealed for people to keep sight of the bigger picture: “Please go and register to vote. Stay strong and struggle together for positive change,” he said.

Sam Sokong, defence attorney for Chakrya, yesterday said the detention extension was unreasonable and that the court should release the accused if it does not have enough evidence to start a trial.

“During the six-month period, the judge did not make any effort, meaning that the court did not do its best to investigate as is set by the law, then at the end, just decided to delay it,” he told reporters.

The lawyer said the judge asserted there were witnesses who still needed to be questioned. However, he noted Article 208 of the Code of Criminal Procedures only lets a judge extend a six-month pre-trial detention with “correct and clear reasons”.

“If we look at the legal procedures, the detention is not correct, because this case is not that complex,” Sokong said. “There have been no obstacles preventing the judge’s work, so a duration of six months is enough for the investigating judge.

“If the judge cannot provide evidence, he must drop the charges and set my client free. Only when the country is in chaos is a delay possible.”

Kea Sophal, lawyer for the four Adhoc officials, could not be reached for comment. Ly Sophana, a spokesman for the municipal court, confirmed the extension of the pre-trial detention but declined to comment on the legality of the decision.

Adhoc officials have said the $204 was a small amount to support Chandaraty – to whom they were providing legal advice while the government mounted a campaign against her and Sokha – and that they never instructed her to deny an affair.

The court is set to put to trial today Seang Chet, an opposition commune chief who also stands accused of bribery in the case, and Thak Lany, whom the prime minister is suing for defamation for allegedly claiming he killed political analyst Kem Ley.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all