Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Adhoc 5’ may face more time



‘Adhoc 5’ may face more time

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Adhoc officials Ny Sokha (right) and Yi Soksan are escorted out of the Supreme Court after their bail was denied last month. Pha Lina

‘Adhoc 5’ may face more time

After informing two media outlets in separate interviews that the pre-trial detention of the so-called “Adhoc 5” had been extended, a Phnom Penh Municipal Court clerk yesterday retracted his statement, prompting one of the defence lawyers to speculate that the extension of their clients’ detention was a foregone conclusion.

The speculation came just as it was announced that the five – Adhoc’s Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan and Nay Vanda, and former Adhoc staffer and current National Election Committee official Ny Chakrya – had been nominated for the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, along with two other finalists from El Salvador and Egypt.

The five are closing in on the one-year mark of their detention, and a judge is expected today to deliver a decision on whether the five will enter their third consecutive six-month pre-detention period. After that, no further extensions are allowed, and the investigating judge would have to send the case to trial or drop the charges.

But speaking to both The Post and the Cambodia Daily yesterday, Y Rin said that the investigating judge, Theam Chanpiseth, had informed him that detention for the five would be extended again.

“Yes, there is an extension. As you know it is six months at a time and the procedure allows us to extend it three times,” he said, referring to the first detention, followed by two extensions.

When asked for the a copy of the decision, Rin asked to confer with the investigating judge, only to later say that he had misspoken, and instead read out a summons that had been sent for both sets of lawyers to appear today.

Adhoc lawyer Keo Sophal said that if Rin had indeed said there was an extension, then it seemed that her clients’ detention had already been decided.

Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun said yesterday that such a situation wouldn’t necessarily be abnormal, as investigating judges usually only called the defence in to inform them of their decision, with the lawyers free to challenge the decision later.

Fellow Adhoc defence counsel Lor Chunthy confirmed that his four clients had been summonsed to court today for a closed meeting with the investigating judge, with Chakrya’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, confirming the same.

Chunthy said that if Rin’s revelation stands, it would be unfortunate and unreasonable.

“I don’t know why the court is afraid that they will collude together if they are given bail,” as it has suggested in the past when denying bail, Chunthy said. “There is no reason they would do that.”

If the detention is extended, the five could still be in Prey Sar prison as the Martin Ennals Foundation, named after a past secretary-general of Amnesty International, announces the winner of its prestigious award on October 10 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The award is judged by a panel consisting of representatives from 10 international human rights organisations.

“It is enormously brave of people to stand up against the Cambodian government like this, which year after year relentlessly has tried to snuff out criticisms or any sort of organising by civil society,” said Brian Dooley of the nonprofit Human Rights First.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • One million Chinese Covid-19 jabs to start rolling in from February

    The government has confirmed that Covid-19 vaccines from China are set to begin arriving in Cambodia by February. This came as the Ministry of Health recorded two imported cases of Covid-19 on January 18. While calling on people to remain vigilant against the pandemic, ministry spokeswoman