National Election Committee (NEC) Deputy Chairman Kuoy Bunroeun on Thursday led a delegation of elections officials to visit one of the body’s top administrators, Ny Chakrya, who has been jailed on charges of bribing an opposition leader’s alleged mistress.
Mr. Chakrya, a former human rights monitor before his appointment in January to the new bipartisan NEC, was jailed in April after being accused of helping convince CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha’s alleged mistress to deny the affair when questioned in court.
“The purpose of visiting him was that we wanted to know about his health and his living situation, and in particular we wanted to know his opinions,” Mr. Bunroeun said after visiting Mr. Chakrya at PJ prison, adding that the official wanted to be freed to help prepare for upcoming elections.
“He raised his opinion that if there were any possibility or mechanism down the legal path, he wanted to help participate in the NEC preparing the mechanisms and procedures for the elections process, since the NEC has been in a very busy stage,” he said.
Mr. Chakrya’s appointment as a deputy secretary-general to the new NEC, which was created last year as part of a deal between the ruling CPP and opposition CNRP, was seen as a bulwark against the influence of longtime NEC secretary-general Tep Nytha, who has been accused of manipulating past elections in the CPP’s favor. The CNRP believes Mr. Chakrya’s arrest to be political.
Mr. Chakrya’s lawyer, Sam Sokong, said the elections official would be appearing in the Appeal Court on June 13 for a bail hearing.
“My client will take part in the bail hearing, and then he will have a chance to raise his opinions about the conditions that the court can impose to consider releasing him on bail,” Mr. Sokong said.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court rejected Mr. Chakrya’s bail request on May 10, but Mr. Sokong said he hoped the Appeal Court would overturn that decision, as his client was not a security risk.