Two rights workers charged with bribing the alleged mistress of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha to deny the affair rejected the allegations during questioning on Thursday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
The employees of rights group Adhoc were arrested in April along with Ny Chakrya, a former Adhoc official now serving as a deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee. The NGO confirmed it paid Khom Chandaraty $204 in support while she was being questioned about a prostitution complaint, but denied the money was a bribe.
Defense lawyer Huon Chundy said Lim Mony, one of the rights workers, was asked whether the money was a bribe and whether the NGO had promised to get Ms. Chandaraty and her family out of the country.
“Lim Mony denied everything,” he said. “The money is the policy of Adhoc to help victims. It is not a bribe.”
Defendant Yi Soksan, who was questioned separately, also denied the allegations.
“We did not do it,” he said after being questioned. “If the court is independent, we will all get justice.”
Investigating Judge Theam Chan Piseth, who questioned the pair, could not be reached.
The court on Thursday also questioned Ms. Chandaraty, better known as Srey Mom, but she declined to speak with reporters.
Her lawyer, Kim Veasna, said only that deputy prosecutor Sieng Sok focused on the prostitution allegations against her and that the court would soon summon CNRP lawmakers Pin Rotana and Tok Vanchan in relation to the case. Mr. Rotana and Mr. Vanchan were previously summoned for questioning on May 16.
The pair could not be reached, but fellow CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang said they would not attend the questioning, citing their legal immunity. He declined to comment on how the two may be related to the case.
The CNRP contends that the legal immunity of its parliamentarians shields them from questioning and has said none of its 55 lawmakers would heed any court summonses. The government insists their immunity does not cover questioning.
Police attempted to arrest Mr. Sokha on May 26 for ignoring a pair of summonses last month but failed to follow through, apparently for a lack of a court warrant. Mr. Sokha has since been staying in the CNRP’s headquarters to avoid further arrest attempts.
Mr. Sok, the prosecutor, and Ly Sophanna, a court spokesman, both declined to comment on the case.