The alleged mistress of deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha denied having an affair to Adhoc rights officers and said racy audio recordings, allegedly between the pair, were “not her voice,” a jailed officer testified on Wednesday during a bail hearing before the Supreme Court.
In late February, an anonymous Facebook page posted audio recordings purporting to reveal Mr. Sokha talking about sex with Khom Chandaraty, a 25-year-old manicurist at a Phnom Penh barber shop.
Investigations around the recordings snowballed into the arrests of four Adhoc workers as well as National Election Committee deputy secretary-general Ny Chakrya for allegedly bribing Ms. Chandaraty to deny an affair when questioned by authorities. Mr. Sokha was handed a five-month prison sentence for failing to appear in court for questioning over the case.
In the case’s first public hearing on Wednesday, at the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh, a panel of five judges questioned the five defendants one by one about their requests for bail.
“Khom Chandaraty clarified that she did not have sexual intercourse with His Excellency Kem Sokha,” said Nay Vanda, one of the four Adhoc officers.
Of the audio recordings posted online, Ms. Chandaraty “said it was not her voice and it is an edited recording,” Mr. Vanda said.
Yi Soksan, another Adhoc employee, denied the bribery charges.
“When the Ministry of Interior summoned her to be questioned, Ms. Chandaraty was scared,” he said. “She asked Adhoc to help her, so we did.”
The case has seen the five imprisoned for 210 days as of today.
Their release would be good publicity for the ruling party, Mr. Soksan added, noting that the international community had “criticized the leader of Cambodia for abusing human rights officers.”
Another of the Adhoc defendants, Ny Sokha, said their detention had caused “chaos in society—for example, Black Monday,” and said their release would end it.
A ruling on the bail requests is expected on November 30.