The Supreme Court on Wednesday denied bail for four officers of rights group Adhoc and an election official who have been held in jail for seven months after being charged in connection to a sex scandal targeting deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha.
The rights officials and National Election Committee deputy secretary-general and former Adhoc employee Ny Chakrya were arrested in late April and accused of bribing an alleged mistress of Mr. Sokha to lie about a supposed affair.
Mr. Sokha received a five-month prison sentence for failing to appear in court for questioning over the case, which is widely perceived to be politically motivated, and remains holed up in CNRP headquarters.
After losing an appeal to have the case dropped, and a Monday appeal protesting the extension of their detention, the officials asked the Supreme Court to permit them bail.
However, Presiding Judge Kim Sathavy said their request had been rejected.
“The Supreme Court decided, firstly, to deny the appeal of the defendants and their lawyers and, secondly, to uphold the verdict of the Court of Appeal,” Judge Sathavy said.
“This case is complicated and the investigation has not progressed quickly,” she added.
Upon exiting the courtroom, defendant Yi Soksan, 53, criticized the ongoing investigation. “This is very unjust because the court seems under pressure from politicians,” he told reporters.
Am Sam Ath, monitoring manager at rights group Licadho, criticized the group’s continued incarceration, saying he believed the situation would only change with a thawing in political tensions between the ruling party and opposition.