Cambodia’s Supreme Court Overturns Defamation Conviction of Election Official, Citing Lack of Evidence

Cambodia’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected the defamation conviction of deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (NEC) Ny Chakrya citing a lack of evidence, ordering the country’s Appeal Court to hold a retrial of his case.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Ny Chakrya on charges of “defamation, malicious denunciation, and for comments intended to unlawfully coerce judicial authorities” under Articles 305, 311, and 522 of Cambodia’s Criminal Code in a Sept. 22, 2016 decision, ordering him to serve six months in prison and pay a fine of six million riel (U.S. $1,460).

The 2016 conviction followed a complaint by an investigating judge and a deputy prosecutor at the Siem Reap Provincial Court over comments Ny Chakrya allegedly made at two May 2015 press conferences for local rights group Adhoc—where he was a staffer at the time—calling for an investigation into legal irregularities related to a land dispute.

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