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Kem Sokha trial to proceed: judge

Jailed NEC official Ny Chakrya is led in to the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh yesterday. His bail hearing was delayed when his lawyer did not appear.
Jailed NEC official Ny Chakrya is led in to the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh yesterday. His bail hearing was delayed when his lawyer did not appear. Heng Chivoan

Kem Sokha trial to proceed: judge

The Supreme Court yesterday delayed a bail hearing for four jailed Adhoc staffers and an election official, while at the Appeal Court, opposition leader Kem Sokha’s motion to overturn a lower court’s order to try him was denied.

Supreme Court director Khem Pun said the bail hearing was delayed because Sam Sokong, lawyer for NEC official Ny Chakrya, was busy across town with the trial of jailed Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmaker Um Sam An at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He gave no revised date for the hearing.

“The court decided to delay because it is one complaint and the court cannot split the hearing [because one of the lawyers is missing],” Khem Pun said.

While entering the court, Nay Vanda – one of the four Adhoc officials charged with bribing a witness – told reporters he had no hope of being released on bail.

At the Appeal Court, acting CNRP president Kem Sokha – whose alleged affair with a hairdresser is at the centre of the bribery case – had his motion to nullify the municipal court’s directive to send his case to trial rejected.

Sokong, who also represents Sokha, said his client was contesting the procedures of the lower court, which last month concluded its investigation into his refusal to appear for multiple court summonses, and set a trial date for this Friday.

“It was wrong procedure, because Kem Sokha still has his [parliamentary] immunity. The charges against him are wrong because he had reasonable reasons [for not appearing],” Sokong said. He added that the opposition leader’s alleged crime failed to meet the standard of a “red-handed crime”, a necessity for his immunity to be stripped.

Sokha has refused to appear before court for questioning in a prostitution case tied to his alleged affair with Khom Chandaraty, aka Srey Mom.

Amid Sokha’s mounting legal woes, National Election Committee spokesman Hang Puthea yesterday said that if the opposition deputy leader did not register to vote in the next three months he would be unable to vote in the 2017 commune elections and would have to wait for the next round of registrations in late 2017.

Sokha has been holed up in CNRP headquarters since a failed attempt to arrest him on May 26.

Yesterday also marked the 18th week of the so-called Black Monday campaign, which is calling for the release of Ny Chakrya and the four jailed Adhoc officials.

An attempted small-scale protest by five Borei Keila land activists was quashed by a force of about 50 Prampi Makara district security guards and police officials who turned up at their community.

“I had only five members, but they deployed 50 to 60 personnel, so we could do nothing and we decided to stop,” community land activist Phork Sophin told the Post afterwards.

Separately, six land activists detained by Dangkor district police on Sunday for protesting outside Prey Sar prison for the release of fellow activist Tep Vanny and the jailed Adhoc staffers were released yesterday morning.

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