The Appeal Court yesterday rejected an appeal by four Adhoc staffers against a decision in April to further extend their pre-trial detention by six months.
The workers from the human rights group have been in jail since April last year, and have been charged with bribery of a witness in connection to opposition leader Kem Sokha’s alleged affair with a salon worker. The case is widely considered to be politically-motivated.
After questioning the four, Appeal Court Judge Ngoun Ratana ruled the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision would stand on the grounds of “safety”, according to defence lawyer Lor Chunthy, who spoke after the three-hour closed-door session.
“He said the court would keep them in detention … for safety, fearing the accused may destroy evidence and threaten witnesses,” said Chunthy, who criticised the decision.
“The detention of my clients has continued over a year for an investigation that has not progressed,” he said.
Former ADHOC staffer-turned-election official Ny Chakrya was also detained in the case as an accomplice but opted not to appeal the extension, believing the negative decision was a foregone conclusion, said his lawyer, Sam Sokong.
However, Sokong said his client would soon make another bid at bail and demand a trial date be set “as soon as possible”.