The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a decision deeming extended pre-trial detention for four Adhoc human rights officials legal, claiming that they pose a threat to social stability and might flee if released.
Judge Heng Priya defended the decision to uphold the Appeal Court ruling, arguing that the Adhoc officials – Yi Soksan, Lem Mony, Ny Sokha and Nay Vanda – should remain in pre-trial detention because an investigating judge was still examining the case. Defence lawyer Lor Chunthy, however, challenged this rationale. “Questioning for six months is enough,” he said.
The four Adhoc officials face “bribery” charges relating a scandal involving the alleged mistress of opposition party president Kem Sokha. They have been detained in Prey Sar prison since May, and a fifth alleged accomplice – former Adhoc official and current elections official Ny Chakrya – remains in PJ prison.
The cases are widely believed to be politically motivated, and after yesterday’s hearing, detainee Soksan questioned the court’s independence, saying that it “does not dare to make decisions based on its own will”.
Fellow detainee Mony, meanwhile, compared the alleged injustice to a rotting carcass. “I think that they cannot use anything to cover the huge dead elephant and prevent the smell from spreading,” she said.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to rule on the legality of Chakrya’s extended pre-trial detention on March 24.