The Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) yesterday called for the release of the four jailed Adhoc staffers and one National Election Committee official who have remained in pre-trial detention since last May in a fact sheet criticising the Cambodian government for regularly breaching fair trial rights.
CCHR also criticised prolonged pre-trial detention in general, with the organisation saying the practice “is frequently used in Cambodia”.
CCHR’s fair trial rights project coordinator Hun Seanghak cited in an email the troubling pre-trial detentions of three Mother Nature activists (more than 10 months), Boeung Kak activist Tep Vanny (more than six months) and the four Adhoc officials and National Election Committee member, who as of yesterday “spent 333 days in arbitrary pre-trial detention”.
The fact sheet called on the government to “release the four Adhoc workers and NEC official, as well as other persons illegitimately detained”. But Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan brushed off the criticism, saying CCHR “generalises everything” and was “biased”.
CCHR further argues in the release that Article 98 of the Criminal Procedure Code – which allows a suspect to be held for 24 hours without a lawyer – might infringe the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Siphan again, however, shrugged off the assertion, saying that “to respect [international law] doesn’t mean that it has to be carried out 100 percent”.
Representatives of the Justice Ministry could not be reached yesterday.