Phnom Penh Municipal Court today postponed the hearing of five human rights defenders charged with bribery as witnesses were absent.
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.
Mr Sokha, Ms Mony and six witnesses, including Ms Chandaraty did not show up at the court.
Sam Sokong, lawyer for Mr Chakrya, asked the court to delay the hearing because Ms Chandaraty was absent while Mr Sokha and Ms Mony did not receive the summons.
“I want to ask the court to postpone the hearing because three main witnesses are absent, especially Khom Chandaraty,” Mr Sokong said.
During the hearing, Mr Chakrya asked the court to summon Ms Chandaraty because she was an important witness in the case.
“I notice the hearing failed to summon the important witness [Ms Chandaraty] who was involved in the case, accusing me of being an accomplice to bribe a witness,” Mr Chakrya said.
As the hearing went on about 30 minutes, Presiding judge Duch Soksarin decided to postpone the hearing till next month.
“The court decides to delay the hearing until September 18,” Mr Soksarin said. He declined to elaborate further.
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.
They were released on bail under court supervision in June 2017 following more than one year in pre-trial detention.