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Group demands fair trial for Adhoc five

Khuon Narim / Khmer Times Share:

A human rights group last week called on the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to carefully analyse all the evidence submitted during the trial of the Adhoc five officials charged with bribery.

In a statement on Friday, international rights group Front Line Defender also urged the court to conduct a fair trial in accordance with international standards.

“[We want] a guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Cambodia are able to carry out their activities without fear of reprisal, free of all restrictions,” the statement said.

Adhoc staffers Nay Vanda, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and National Election Committee official Ny Chakrya were accused of bribing a witness in relation to an alleged affair between former opposition leader Kem Sokha and hairdresser Khom Chandaraty, an allegation Adhoc denied.

The five could not be reached for comment yesterday. Adhoc’s senior investigator Soeng Sen Karuna said yesterday that the five officials will face their trial on August 27.

Mr Sen Karuna said that the organisation is monitoring the case.

“Our stance is neutral – we are not biased and we will continue to provide assistance to victims so that they may continue to demand justice,” Mr Sen Karuna said.

Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said yesterday that FLD’s appeal will have no effect whatsoever on the judges.

Mr Malin said that the court is not obligated to be pressured by any organisation.

“This has no effect on court procedures because the court is independent and decisions are made based on the laws,” he said. “They should join a hearing and provide evidence instead of just saying that [the accused] are innocent.”

The Adhoc five were arrested in 2016 after they were questioned by the Anti-corruption Unit over allegations that they instructed and bribed Ms Chandaraty to deny allegations of an affair with Mr Sokha.

The Adhoc five were released on bail under court supervision in June 2017 following more than one year in pre-trial detention.

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