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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,