***UPDATE: NAY VANDA, NY CHAKRYA AND YI SOKSAN HAVE BEEN SUMMONED TO APPEAR IN THE PHNOM PENH MUNICIPAL COURT ON TUESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 AT 7:30AM. SEE THE “CAMPAIGN UPDATES” SECTION FOR DETAILS.***
Between 28 April 2016 and 29 June 2017, five Cambodian human rights defenders – four senior staff members from NGO the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Ny Sokha, Mr. Yi Soksan, Mr. Nay Vanda and Ms. Lim Mony, and deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (and former ADHOC staff member) Mr. Ny Chakrya – have been detained with regard to advice and legitimate reimbursement of food and transport costs provided to the woman alleged to have had an extra-marital relationship with then deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha.
On 2 May 2016, the four ADHOC staff were indicted with bribing a witness, and Ny Chakrya was indicted as an accomplice to the same crime. United Nations (UN) staffer Mr. Soen Sally was also indicted as an accomplice; however, he remained free due to his immunity as a UN official. That same day, Ny Chakrya was transferred to Police Judiciaire and the four ADHOC staff were transferred to Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison. The charges bear all the hallmarks of being politically motivated, amounting to legal harassment.
In November 2016, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (“UNWGAD”) concluded that their detention was “arbitrary” and in violation of international human rights law, that they have been discriminated against based on their status as human rights defenders, and called for their immediate release. On 26 April 2017 the courage of the five and their commitment to their work to promote and protect human rights was acknowledged internationally through their nomination as one of three finalists to receive the prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
After having spent 427 days in arbitrary pre-trial detention, they were released on bail on 29 June 2017. During the bail period, they have been unable to leave Cambodia or change their address, and remained under the Court’s supervision.
In early August 2018, Nay Vanda, Ny Chakrya and Yi Soksan received summons to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in relation to charges of Bribery of a Witness (article 548 of the Criminal Code). The summonses, issued by the Vice-Prosecutor, require them to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court at 7.30 am on 27 August 2018.
#FreeThe5KH #ដោះលែងអ្នកទាំង៥ aims to garner support for the five human rights defenders, to remind them that the public has not forgotten about their cause and to raise awareness about their situation.
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