Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

Election official and former Adhoc staffer Ny Chakrya is escorted out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after his hearing.
Election official and former Adhoc staffer Ny Chakrya is escorted out of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday after his hearing. Niem Chheng

Detentions extended for officials in ‘bribery’ case

The four officials from local rights group Adhoc and the National Election Committee (NEC) official jailed six months ago for “bribing” the alleged mistress of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha will remain in jail for up to six more months without trial, a judge ruled yesterday.

Adhoc’s Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda and Lim Mony, and the NEC’s Ny Chakrya – also a former top official at Adhoc – were jailed in April for allegedly offering $204 to the family of Khom Chandaraty, who accused them of telling her to deny the alleged affair.

They have since been in pre-trial detention, and after questioning at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, they said judge Theam Chan Piseth had extended their detention for further investigation.

“The judge decided to delay the detention for another six months. I do not understand why,” Mony told reporters outside the courtroom.

Vanda, meanwhile, appealed for people to keep sight of the bigger picture: “Please go and register to vote. Stay strong and struggle together for positive change,” he said.

Sam Sokong, defence attorney for Chakrya, yesterday said the detention extension was unreasonable and that the court should release the accused if it does not have enough evidence to start a trial.

“During the six-month period, the judge did not make any effort, meaning that the court did not do its best to investigate as is set by the law, then at the end, just decided to delay it,” he told reporters.

The lawyer said the judge asserted there were witnesses who still needed to be questioned. However, he noted Article 208 of the Code of Criminal Procedures only lets a judge extend a six-month pre-trial detention with “correct and clear reasons”.

“If we look at the legal procedures, the detention is not correct, because this case is not that complex,” Sokong said. “There have been no obstacles preventing the judge’s work, so a duration of six months is enough for the investigating judge.

“If the judge cannot provide evidence, he must drop the charges and set my client free. Only when the country is in chaos is a delay possible.”

Kea Sophal, lawyer for the four Adhoc officials, could not be reached for comment. Ly Sophana, a spokesman for the municipal court, confirmed the extension of the pre-trial detention but declined to comment on the legality of the decision.

Adhoc officials have said the $204 was a small amount to support Chandaraty – to whom they were providing legal advice while the government mounted a campaign against her and Sokha – and that they never instructed her to deny an affair.

The court is set to put to trial today Seang Chet, an opposition commune chief who also stands accused of bribery in the case, and Thak Lany, whom the prime minister is suing for defamation for allegedly claiming he killed political analyst Kem Ley.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio