Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Judge rejects activists’ appeal in Sokha 'mistress' case

Judge rejects activists’ appeal in Sokha 'mistress' case

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Adhoc’s Ny Sokha (centre left) and Yi Soksan (centre right) are escorted through the ground of the Phnom Penh Appeal Court yesterday afternoon ahead of their hearing. Heng Chivoan

Judge rejects activists’ appeal in Sokha 'mistress' case

Four employees from rights group Adhoc and an election official charged in connection with opposition leader Kem Sokha’s alleged sexual affair are set to languish longer behind bars after the Appeal Court yesterday threw out an appeal of their prolonged pre-trial detention.

The group, arrested in May for allegedly bribing Sokha’s purported mistress to stay quiet about the alleged affair, had appealed a decision by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to extend their pre-trial detention beyond the six-month limit stipulated under Cambodian law for a felony offence.

Speaking after yesterday’s three-hour afternoon hearing, attorney for the jailed Adhoc staffers Ky Sophal said the Appeal Court had upheld the municipal court’s decision. “The court said that the delay of detention is right because . . . the investigation of this case had not ended yet and it is a [felony] crime, so they can ask for the delay for the detention,” she said.

According to Cambodia’s Criminal Procedure Code, an investigating judge can request an additional six-month term of pre-trial imprisonment twice, provided they have a “well-reasoned” argument.

The group has been charged with bribing a witness, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

The charge concerns $204 Adhoc gave hairdresser Khom Chandaraty for travel and food costs when she was seeking the group’s help after being named as Sokha’s mistress following the release of covertly recorded phone conversations, the provenance of which has never been investigated.

The case is one of several connected to Sokha’s alleged affair. The associated investigation and prosecutions are widely seen as politically motivated attacks against government opponents.

The opposition leader himself has been sentenced to five months in prison for refusing to appear for questioning over the case. While technically free on appeal, he has remained largely holed up in CNRP headquarters since a May arrest attempt.

Speaking yesterday, imprisoned Adhoc staffer Lem Mony called their prolonged detention “very unfair”.

Her colleague Nay Vanda, meanwhile, focused his attention on recent threats by the government to kick the UN’s Office for the High Commission of Human Rights out of the country, calling for the organisation’s mandate to continue.

“If there is no UN, the human rights violations will be more serious,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro