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Adhoc Five named finalist in global award

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:
The Adhoc Five’s detention has been extended. KT/Mai Vireak

The Cambodian government has dismissed news of the Adhoc Five being named as finalist for a prestigious global human rights award, deeming their nomination a political move to influence the judiciary.
Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said the activists’ shortlisting for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders was of no significance in Cambodia.
“This award has a political tendency of interfering with the judicial process of the Cambodian courts,” Mr. Siphan said.
“Secondly, it is just in the interest of Adhoc and it cannot affect or put pressure on the Cambodian court,” he added.
 The Adhoc Five – four Adhoc officials and one National Elections Committee official who was formerly with Adhoc – have been in pre-trial detention for a year now on charges relating to the bribery of a witness involving Kem Sokha’s alleged mistress.
However many in the opposition, civil society as well as international bodies, including the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Human Rights Watch have called for their immediate release, deeming their detention politically motivated.
“The increased attacks against human rights defenders and activists has had a tremendous impact on those working to promote and protect human rights in Cambodia,” Adhoc president Thun Saray said yesterday.
“This award is a symbol of encouragement for every courageous Cambodian who continues to speak out against injustice and human rights violation.”
Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Theam Chan Piseth extended the time of the five in pre-trial detention for additional questioning, a media outlet reported yesterday. The group has been summoned to appear in court today.

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