Four Adhoc officials will remain in prison after the Court of Appeal on Wednesday*upheld a decision handed down last month to lengthen their yearlong provisional detention by six more months, officials said.
Part of the “Adhoc 5,” the group’s head of monitoring Ny Sokha, his deputies Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan, and senior investigator Lim Mony were detained after questioning in April last year and charged in May for allegedly bribing the alleged mistress of then-deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha to deny an affair. Ny Chakrya, a National Election Committee official and former Adhoc employee, was accused of being an accomplice.
Adhoc officials Ny Sokha, right, and Yi Soksan arrive at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh in March. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)The five have already served more than a year in prison. Last month, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court extended their detention, claiming more time was needed to investigate.
The four Adhoc officials appealed that prison, but were denied release on Wednesday, said their lawyer Lor Chunthy.
“The court saw that the investigation is not closed” after a two-hour hearing, Mr. Chunthy said. “The reasons are the same—they’re saying witnesses did not come and some escaped and the questioning has not
finished.”
He said that the reasoning was flawed, and that the extension amounted to human rights abuse.
“It has been more than a year and the most recent developments of the investigation are so little,” Mr. Chunthy added. “One year should be enough for the investigation.”
Court spokesman Touch Tharith confirmed the decision, but said he did not know Judge Nguon Ratana’s reasons.
San Vattanak Vatey, the 23-year-old daughter of Mr. Soksan, decried the decision.
Senior election official Ny Chakrya enters the Phnom Penh Court of Appeal on December last year (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)“It has turned out to be something very ridiculous,” she said. “It’s extended by another six months and still there has been no investigation, so hold them for what?”
“If they were ordinary people, this would be a type of human rights violation,” she added. “But they are human rights officers—it is a double violation.”
Mr. Chakrya, the NEC official, decided against appealing last month’s decision because he expected it would be denied, said his lawyer Sam Sokong. Instead, Mr. Sokong said, they planned to send letters to the court on Friday to request that Mr. Chakrya’s trial be held soon, and that he be released on bail and
acquitted.
sony@cambodiadaily.com*
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