The families of five current and past employees of rights group Adhoc, who have been detained without trial for nine months in relation to opposition leader Kem Sokha’s “sex scandal”, yesterday petitioned Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni for their loved ones’ release.
The group visited the Council of Ministers and the Royal Palace, lodging two separate petitions. Both demanded intervention in the case.
“I have waited for nine months already and I have no hope in the court to release them,” said Thoun Bonyta, wife of Adhoc worker Yi Soksan.
“Therefore, we make and file the petitions to the Council of Ministers and the King.”
The inmates – Soksan, Lem Mony, Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha and former Adhoc employee-turned-election official Ny Chakrya – were detained in April on charges of bribing a witness.
They’re accused of paying salon worker Khom Chandaraty to deny having an affair with Sokha, who was recently granted a pardon at the behest of Hun Sen in a related “prostitution” case.
The whole saga is widely considered part of a crackdown against critics by the premier, who has been accused of using the men as “bargaining chips” in an attempt to weaken the opposition.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the premier could only choose to recommend a royal pardon when the court process finished.