Request to Release ‘Exhausted’ NEC Official Rejected by Court

The Appeal Court on Monday rejected a request for the release of National Election Committee official Ny Chakriya, who has been detained at PJ Prison since May over claims that he was involved in bribing an alleged mistress of CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha.

In appealing for his release, Mr. Chakriya argued that the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) judicial police officers violated the law by questioning him for too long and outside of regular business hours.

Mr. Chakriya, the election committee’s deputy secretary-general, was arrested by the ACU in May, along with four officials from rights group Adhoc. The case is widely believed to be politically motivated.

The Appeal Court rejected the request on Monday after a two-hour, closed-door hearing, said In Vanvibol, a consulting judge in the case.

Sam Sokong, a lawyer for Mr. Chakriya, said the request was rejected because “there is no law stating a violation of rights for questioning beyond administrative hours.”

Mr. Sokong said he would discuss appealing the decision to the Supreme Court with his client as the prolonged questioning had affected Mr. Chakriya’s ability to defend himself.

“It made him exhausted, afraid. He was not able to eat enough and that made him unable to listen to the questions and understand the facts of the accusation,” he said.

ACU Chairman Om Yentieng, who questioned Mr. Chakriya, denied any wrongdoing.

“I have a duty to collect evidence for the court and the court has seen enough to charge,” he said. “If the court does wrong, it is the court’s business.”

In a separate court action on Monday, Pa Nguon Tieng, head of the Cambodian Center for Independent Media and director-general of Voice of Democracy (VoD), was summoned to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court as a witness on August 18.

VoD reported that Mr. Nguon Tieng was summoned to offer clarifications in a case regarding the bribery of a witness, though it remained unclear if the summons was related to Mr. Sokha’s scandal.

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