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Official denied bail in Sokha mistress bribery case

Seang Chet, a commune chief of the Sam Rainsy Party, leaves the Phnom Penh Appeals Court yesterday morning after a hearing.
Seang Chet, a commune chief of the Sam Rainsy Party, leaves the Phnom Penh Appeals Court yesterday morning after a hearing. Pha Lina

Official denied bail in Sokha mistress bribery case

The Appeal Court yesterday rejected a bail application from jailed Kampong Cham commune chief Seang Chet, who is under investigation for allegedly bribing CNRP acting president Kem Sokha’s purported mistress.

Sam Sokong, the Sam Rainsy Party member’s lawyer, said presiding judge Khun Leang Meng gave two reasons for denying bail: the case was still being investigated by a lower court and it was a criminal case with a serious sentence attached to it.

“My client said he has a permanent address and offered to deposit 5 million riel (about $1,250) to the court as guarantee to show that he will not flee,” Sokong said.

He added that given the political nature of the case, it was not surprising Chet was not given bail, but his continued detention should have been only a last resort for the court.

Exiting the court, Chet said: “My request for bail is to seek medical treatment. I will deposit money with the court if they want.”

Chet, who was the first of six detained in April in connection to the case, is charged with bribing a witness after Sokha’s alleged mistress and hairdresser, Khom Chandaraty, accused him of offering her $500 to lie about her realtionship with the CNRP leader.

CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said the decision was “unjust” and that he had no faith in the judcial system.

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