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Rights group staffers, election official, UN employee charged over 'bribery'

People crowd around Ny Sokha's vehicle on Sunday night as he is driven out of Phnom Penh Municipal Court after questioning.
People crowd around Ny Sokha's vehicle on Sunday night as he is driven out of Phnom Penh Municipal Court after questioning. Hong Menea

Rights group staffers, election official, UN employee charged over 'bribery'

Prosecutors at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court have charged four Adhoc staffers with bribing a witness, and an election official and UN staffer as accomplices to bribing a witness in relation to opposition leader Kem Sokha’s alleged extramarital affair scandal, according to court spokesman Ly Sophanna.

The four Adhoc staffers - Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda and Lem Mony - returned to court this morning and will be charged under Article 548 of the criminal code for bribing a witness, whereas National Election Committee Deputy Secretary-General Ny Chakrya and UN staffer Sally Soen are charged as accomplices, Sophanna said.

“Prosecution officials have finished questioning them, and after reviewing all documents received from Anti-Corruption Unit, they have decided to charge Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lem Mony following Article 548 of the penal code for bribing a witness,” Sophanna added.

Sam Sokong, defense lawyer for Chakrya, confirmed the charge, and said that the investigating judge was now questioning the five.

“The judge will question them and will decide if the charges hold,” he said, adding that he was unsure if they would be sent to prison if the charges were confirmed.

The five, who were detained by the Anti-Corruption Unit last Thursday, were produced in court yesterday over allegations from 24-year-old salon worker Khom Chandaraty, who claimed they asked her to lie about her alleged relationship with Sokha.

Soen, an employee with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), did not appear before the ACU last week, with the UN stating he enjoyed immunity under the Convention on the Immunities and Privileges of the United Nations, though Prime Minister Hun Sen has insisted that even UN immunity cannot protect employees from prosecution.

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