‘Adhoc Five’ Lose Appeal Against Convictions

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Adhoc’s Ny Sokha, right, meets other human rights officials outside the Appeal Court on April 28, 2022. (Chorn Chanren/VOD)

The Appeal Court on Monday upheld the already-served sentences against five human rights officials who were convicted of bribing the alleged lover of an opposition leader.

Presiding judge Sin Visal said the court rejected all appeals from both the defense and prosecution, and upheld the Phnom Penh municipal court’s 2018 decision.

On September 26, 2018, four officials from rights group Adhoc — Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony — and a former Adhoc official who was then working for the National Election Committee, Ny Chakrya, were sentenced to five years each in prison but had their sentences served to the 14 months they had already spent in jail.

The case traces back to 2016, when then-CNRP vice president Kem Sokha was accused of having an affair with hairdresser Khom Chandaraty and was charged with procuring prostitution. The five rights officials were charged in relation to bribery for financially assisting Chandaraty.

Judge Visal said on Monday morning in Phnom Penh that all parties could lodge a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Sam Titseyha, the defense lawyer for Adhoc’s Sokha, Vanda, Soksan and Mony, told reporters outside the court that he was disappointed that witnesses were not called to testify.

Both the lower and appeal courts reached their decisions based only on previous testimony that Chandaraty — Kem Sokha’s alleged lover — and a lawyer who was witness in the case, Try Chhuon, had given to police and court officials, Titseyha said.

“They should have had the right to contest in public the accusers,” he said. “The absence of the two seems not to give justice to my four clients.”

Titseyha’s four clients were not present on Monday. The lawyer said he would discuss with them a further appeal to the Supreme Court.

Defense lawyer Sam Sokong and his client Chakrya were also absent this morning.

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