Nay Vanda

Nay VandaDate of Birth: August 7, 1974

Marital Status: Married with one son (15) and one daughter (3)

Occupation: Deputy Head of ADHOC’s Human Rights Section

Charges: Bribery of a witness (Criminal Code Article 548)

Possible Prison Sentence: 5-10 years’ imprisonment

Date of Arrest: April 28, 2016

Date of Charge: May 2, 2016

Place of Detention: Prey Sar’s CC1 prison

Please protect human rights defenders, and their families” – Pheav Mey, Nay Vanda’s wife

Nay Vanda has worked at the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) since 2008. Prior to this, he was an English professor at the Institute of Foreign Language in Phnom Penh and worked with the local authorities in Kampot province. While a Deputy Governor of Kampot District and later Chief of Provincial Local Administrative Unit in Kampot, he decided to devote his life to civil society and to protecting human rights.

Nay Vanda lives in Phnom Penh together with his wife, whom he married in 1997, and their two children. Their oldest son is currently in grade 11 and their daughter is three years old. Their daughter misses her father and cries a lot since he has been detained, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night wanting to see him. When Nay Vanda is not working, he looks after their children and helps with the household chores. One of his favourite tasks is feeding his young daughter, and his wife finds it particularly hard to explain to her why her father cannot be with her during meals.

Both Nay Vanda and his wife care a lot about human rights and find it very important to have people working to improve the human rights situation in Cambodia, despite the current situation. “It does not matter what position you hold, it is the work you want to do,” Nay Vanda once told his wife. Once or twice, his wife has asked him to think again about working in human rights because she worries about his security, especially when he has overnight missions to remote areas. Nay Vanda always replies that he loves his work and wants to continue helping people.

Nay Vanda’s wife and children have visited him in prison several times and says he is coping, but he has lost weight and looks very thin. “He looks so different,” his wife says.

With Nay Vanda in prison, his family is suffering. His wife explains the emotional trauma the family is going through and asks for the international community to intervene in this case. “It is really hard because some authorities do not support our family. They mock our family and discriminate against our family,” his wife says.