Leading civil society organisations have banded together to defend the woman at the centre of opposition deputy leader Kem Sokha’s alleged love affair, claiming her rights have been violated and the charges against her are “baseless”.
In a joint statement, 20 organisations – including Silaka, Adhoc and Gender and Development for Cambodia – said Khom Chandaraty, also known as “Mon Srey”, had her privacy violated by social and local media and had been defamed by charges of false testimony and prostitution.
“This situation has resulted in her being victim of losing her job [and] living in fear,” the statement read. “All involved individuals in this case must take responsibility immediately and stop using women as an object of political gain.”
Thida Kus, executive director of Silaka, said that the groups were not weighing in on the authenticity of audio files purported to contain intimate conversations between alleged mistresses and Sokha, but simply wanted to support Chandaraty, who had become a pawn in a political battle.
“Recording private conversations is illegal, but the authorities have not taken action,” Kus said.
Y Sok Khy, the director of the anti-terrorism department which investigated the case, maintained Chandaraty’s answers had been inconsistent and said there was evidence for the prostitution charge.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor Sieng Sok said that the rights groups were entitled to complain, but he would handle the case “according to the law”.