Back to top

Defamation Case Against Ny Chakrya

Status: 
Sentenced
About the situation

On 22 September 2016, the Court of Appeals sentenced human rights defender Ny Chakrya to six months imprisonment and fined him six million riels (€1,305) on charges of public defamation, acts of slanderous denunciation and the publication of commentaries intended to unlawfully coerce judicial authorities.

About Ny Chakrya

Ny ChakryaNy Chakrya is Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee. He is former Head of the Human Rights and Legal Aid Section of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), which was founded in 1991 to monitor the development and protection of human rights, in particular of land and natural resources rights. ADHOC provides legal assistance to victims of land rights violations and engages in land rights advocacy through press statements and conferences, publication of thematic reports and cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission.

28 September 2016
Ny Chakrya sentenced to 6 months in prison

On 22 September 2016, Mr Ny Chakrya was sentenced to six months imprisonment and fined six million riels (€1,305) on charges of public defamation, acts of slanderous denunciation and the publication of commentaries intended to unlawfully coerce judicial authorities.

Prior to the sentencing, the Court of Appeals had dismissed the request made by the human rights defender on 18 July 2016 to recuse the judge, based on his refusal to adjourn proceedings following the absence of the two plaintiffs at a court session.

On 22 September 2016, the defence requested the court to play a recording of a press conference, which formed the basis of the complaint lodged against Ny Chakrya, which would prove that he was misquoted in a newspaper article published in Voice of Cambodia. The newspaper claimed Ny Chakrya accused the two plaintiffs, a former Deputy Prosecutor and an Investigative Judge, of corruption. The court refused to play the recording of the press conference. The lawyer for the two plaintiffs admitted that he had not listened to the recording, and had based the case entirely on the newspaper article. The defence argued that Ny Chakrya was not the author of the article and therefore, it could not be used as evidence.

Front Line Defenders expresses its grave concern at the conviction of human rights defender Ny Chakrya, which it believes to be another attempt to silence human rights defenders in Cambodia and their legitimate work. Front Line Defenders furthermore condemns the irregularities in the judicial process, including the refusal of evidence during the trial, and calls for the sentencing to be quashed.

22 July 2016
Trial Starts in Case Against Ny Chakrya; Lawyers Seek to Have Judge Removed

On 18 July 2016, the trial of Mr Ny Chakrya commenced. Twenty minutes into the hearing, Mr Ny Chakrya’s lawyers objected to the continuation of the proceedings due to the absence of the two plaintiffs – former Deputy Prosecutor and the Investigative Judge at the Siem Reap Provincial Court – in the courtroom, preventing their client from challenging his accusers. Based on the refusal of the trial Judge Khy Chhai to adjourn the proceedings, Mr Ny Chakrya’s lawyers requested that he be allowed to file a motion with the Court of Appeals to recuse the judge within 30 days. As a result, Judge Khy Chhai adjourned the trial pending a decision. Furthermore, Mr Ny Chakrya’s lawyers raised the lack of response to his complaint for disciplinary proceedings against the two judicial officials of the Siem Reap Provincial Court with the Supreme Council of Magistracy and a letter to the Ministry of Justice last year.

10 July 2016
Hearing in Defamation Case Set for 18 July

On 18 July 2016, Ny Chakrya will face a hearing at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court regarding previous defamation charges imposed against him stemming from a case originating in July 2015; at the time he was still acting as the Head of Human Rights and Monitoring Section at ADHOC.

In May 2015, Mr NY Chakrya became a victim of judicial harassment, upon having publicly criticised the investigating judge and the deputy prosecutor of the of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, who wrongfully convicted two of ADHOC's clients (two victims of land rights violations involved in a high profile land dispute in Siem Reap) of lacking judicial independence and for denying its clients a fair trial. He thereupon filed a complaint for disciplinary proceedings with the Supreme Council of Magistracy against these two judicial officers. The Council never responded to the complaint.

Upon questioning Ny Chakrya, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court referred his case file to the Investigating Judge, who, after dragging out judicial investigations for months, decided to charge Mr NY Chakrya with the crime of public defamation, acts of slanderous denunciation and publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction (respectively, Articles 305, 311 and 522 of the Cambodian Criminal Code) earlier this year. 

In a separate case, Ny Chakrya is one of the five human rights defenders currently undergoing judicial investigation, after having been submitted to gruesome interrogation by the Anti-Corruption Unit and two months of pre-trial detention.

12 October 2015
Continuing judicial harassment against human rights defender

On 7 October 2015, Ms Chakrya, the wife of human rights defender Mr Ny Chakrya, received a subpoena on his behalf.

It requests the human rights defender to appear before the Investigating Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 21 October 2015.

On 7 October 2015, the wife of the human rights defender received a subpoena on his behalf. It was delivered to their home address and issued by the Investigating Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr Veng Hout. The Judge requested Mr Chakrya to appear before the Court on 21 October 2015 at 9 AM. If he fails to appear in Court on the said date, the Court has the power to issue an arrest warrant for him.

During the upcoming meeting at the Court, Mr Chakrya, in presence of his lawyers, is expected to clarify to the judge any questions that arose during the judicial investigations and to respond to the allegations against him. Considering his response and existing evidence, the judge will decide whether to charge the human rights defender. Previously, he had been summoned before the Court on 13 July 2015.

The investigation is based on accusations brought against the human rights defender by the Investigating Judge of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Ky Rithy, and the Deputy Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Sok Keo Bandith, whom on 29 May 2015 submitted a complaint accusing Ny Chakrya of public defamation (Art. 305 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), acts of slanderous denunciation (Art. 311 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), and the publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction (Art. 522 of the Cambodian Criminal Code).

The submission of the complaint came in response to a press conference organised by ADHOC’s Central Office in Phnom Penh on 12 May 2015, at which Ny Chakrya and his ADHOC colleague, Ms Pouk Yarann, discussed the approach of the authorities to the ongoing land dispute in Siem Reap province, and condemned the arrest and detention of Ms Pouk Yarann's clients, Mr Ven Lon and Mr Beourn Sok; two residents of the Chup Romdeng village located in the disputed area. Since May 2015, the Prosecution Office of the Siem Reap Provincial Court has been threatening Ny Chakrya and Pouk Yarann with legal proceedings against them.

2 July 2015
Judicial harassment of human rights defender

On 1 July 2015, human rights defender Mr Ny Chakrya was summoned to appear before the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He has been requested to present himself before at the Court on 13 July 2015.

On 1 July 2015, Ny Chakrya was informed by his lawyers of the summons to appear before Mr Seang Sok, Deputy Prosecutor the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 13 July 2015 at 8:30am. The court summons is based on charges brought against the human rights defender by the Investigating Judge of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Ky Rithy, and the Deputy Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Sok Keo Bandith, whom on 29 May 2015 submitted a complaint accusing Ny Chakrya of public defamation (Art. 305 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), acts of slanderous denunciation (Art. 311 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), and the publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction (Art. 522 of the Cambodian Criminal Code).

The submission of the complaint came in response to a press conference organised by ADHOC’s Central Office in Phnom Penh on 12 May 2015, at which Ny Chakrya and his ADHOC colleague, Mrs Pouk Yarann, discussed the approach of the authorities to the ongoing land dispute in Siem Reap province, and condemned the arrest and detention of Mrs Pouk Yarann's clients, Mr Ven Lon and Mr Beourn Sok two residents of the Chup Romdeng village located in the disputed area. On 3 January 2015, following an order from the Deputy District Governor of Svay Leu district, Mr Sam Sao, and the Deputy Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Bandith, the two village residents were arrested by police and military forces, brought to an unknown state security headquarters in Siem Reap and subjected to brutal torture in order to extract confessions.

The Prosecution Office of the Siem Reap Provincial Court made a public statement on 15 May 2015 in response to ADHOC’s press conference, threatening Ny Chakrya and Pouk Yarann with legal proceedings against them. On 20 May 2015, Ny Chakrya, filed a complaint with the President of the Disciplinary Council of the Supreme Council of Magistracy. The human rights defender requested disciplinary proceedings against the Prosecutor, Mr Bandith, and Investigating Judge of the Siem Reap Provincial Court, Mr Rithy, arguing that their actions and public statements demonstrated a lack of independence and may have prevented the proceedings of the two land dispute victims from being conducted in accordance with their rights to a fair trial.

The majority of the residents of Chup Romdeng village, where ADHOC's clients reside, belong to the Kuoy indigenous group. In 2014, Community Takhmao Development Agricultural & Industrial Ltd. (TCIDA) started clearing plots of land owned by village residents, affecting 31 families and a total of 90 hectares of land.