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Rights worker’s hearing delayed

Rights worker’s hearing delayed

120824_04

Adhoc head of monitoring Chan Soveth at a press conference in Phnom Penh earlier this year. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

A Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge yesterday approved a proposal to delay the case against human-rights worker Chan Soveth, according to his employer, Adhoc.

Soveth has been accused of providing assistance to “specific perpetrators”. Although the court did not provide names, an anonymous court official recently told the Post that the charges are related to an alleged secessionist plot in Kratie province’s Chhloung district, which authorities claim was led by Bun Ratha.

Ny Chakrya, the head of Adhoc’s monitoring section, said yesterday Judge Chhe Virak had notified Soveth’s lawyer that he had agreed to suspend the case, although he did not provide a future date.

Soveth, 44, is on a training mission in Thailand until the second week of September, and could not be reached yesterday.

Sam Sokong, one of the defence lawyer’s for Soveth, requested the suspension of the case because his client could not appear.

According to an order signed on August 9 by Judge Virak, the municipal investigating judge, Soveth is to be interrogated over a crime he allegedly committed in May.

However, Sokong said he had met with his client only once, and the court had not allowed lawyers to copy the relevant documents, so it had been difficult to prepare for the case.

“The court didn’t allow us to get the copy of Chan Saveth’s case until he appears at the court. If the court doesn’t allow us to copy the case of Chan Soveth, we don’t know the reason my client was charged or how to argue the case,” he said.

Virak could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Soveth told the Post last week he was ready to be interrogated in court, because he had not commited a crime.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]

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