Bribery Case Against UN Official Dropped

A case against a local U.N. official who was charged last year over his alleged involvement in attempting to cover up a sex scandal involving then-deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha has been dropped.

Sally Soen was charged in absentia in May last year as an accomplice after failing to present himself for questioning over allegations he was involved in attempts to cover up an affair between Mr. Sokha and a mistress.

Mr. Soen fled the country, while the local U.N. human rights office cited his immunity as a U.N. officer.

However, a statement by the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday announced that the case had been formally withdrawn on June 29.

We “welcome the dropping of all legal proceedings against a member of our own staff, Mr. Soen Sally,” the statement said.

The withdrawal of the case came a day before four officers from rights group Adhoc and an election official were bailed from jail after more than a year locked up awaiting trial in relation to the sex scandal case, which has widely been called politically motivated.

The detention of the five officials, collectively known as the Adhoc 5, had been sparked by accusations that they were involved in bribing Mr. Sokha’s alleged mistress to deny an affair.

They still face trial at a yet to be determined date.

A spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court could not be reached for comment.

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