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Five ADHOC members detained

Status: 
Released on bail
About the situation

On 29 June 2017, human rights defenders Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya were released from Prey Sar and PJ prisons in Phnom Penh, after spending one year and two months in pre-trial detention. The court announced that the investigation into the five ADHOC members over bribery allegations was completed and that their case would be sent for trial. In the meantime, the defenders are not permitted to leave the country and must respond to the court’s summons.

About ADHOC

ADHOCADHOC is a human rights organisation founded in December 1991 by a group of former political prisoners aiming to address the absence of basic rights and freedoms in Cambodia. The organisation assists human rights victims and disseminates information on human rights, law and democracy among Cambodians. Ms Lim Mony is Senior Investigator within the organisation, Mr Ny Sokha is the Head of Monitoring, while Mr Nay Vanda and Mr Yi Soksan serve as deputies of the latter. Mr Ny Chakrya, who is a former ADHOC staff member, has recently been appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the NEC, an independent agency that supervises national elections in Cambodia.

29 June 2017
Five human rights defenders released on bail after 14 months pre-trial detention

On 29 June 2017, human rights defenders Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya were released from Prey Sar and PJ prisons in Phnom Penh, after spending one year and two months in pre-trial detention. The court announced that the investigation into the five ADHOC members over bribery allegations was completed and that their case would be sent for trial. In the meantime, the defenders are not permitted to leave the country and must respond to the court’s summons.

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is a human rights organisation founded in December 1991 by a group of former political prisoners aiming to address violations of rights and freedoms. The organisation assists human rights victims and disseminates information on human rights, law and democracy to the public. Lim Mony is Senior Investigator within the organisation, Ny Sokha is the Head of Monitoring, while Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan serve as deputies of the latter. Ny Chakrya, who is a former ADHOC staff member, was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC), an independent agency that supervises national elections. In April 2017, the five human rights defenders were chosen as finalists for the Martin Ennals Award.

On 29 June 2017, the Investigating Judge Theam Chan Piseth from the Phnom Penh Municipal court issued an order releasing Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya from pre-trial detention. A spokesman for the court said that now that the investigation was over, the judge would send the case for trial. The five human rights defenders subsequently left prison in the evening. The four ADHOC members were detained in Prey Sar prison while Ny Chakrya was being kept in PJ prison. They were detained since 28 April 2016.

This release is conditional, as they remain under the court’s supervision and are not allowed to change their residence or leave the country without permission from the court and they must answer to the summons. The five defenders will be facing trial on a date yet to be set.

This release followed recent reports that the health of the human rights defenders was deteriorating in detention. On 20 June 2017, a doctor sent by human rights organisation Licadho was allowed to examine and treat Ny Sokha in Prey Sar prison after his health declined to the point that he fainted. On 22 June 2017, their medical team was also able to treat Yi Soksan and Nay Vanda.

Front Line Defenders welcomes the release of human rights defenders Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya, and calls for the Cambodian authorities to drop all charges held against them, as it believes they are solely motivated by their peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Cambodia.

21 June 2017
Deterioration of Ny Sokha's health in detention

On 18 June 2017, human rights defender Ny Sokha fainted in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar Prison as his state of health is declining. A day after his collapse, his brother Ny Lyheng was allowed to visit him and reported that Ny Sokha was very pale and his hands were shaking from the effect of serum injections given by the prison’s medical team. A doctor sent by the Cambodian human rights group Licadho was authorised to examine and treat Ny Sokha in the prison on 20 June 2017.

Ny Sokha is a human rights defender and the head of monitoring at the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), an organisation assisting human rights victims and disseminating information on human rights, law and democracy among Cambodians.

On 18 June 2017, Ny Sokha’s family was informed that he collapsed in the bathroom of Prey Sar Prison, where he has been detained since 28 April 2016. According to his brother who was allowed to see him the next day, his health condition has worsened and he appears very weak. Ny Sokha’s lawyer, Lor Chunthy, announced that his legal team would file a petition with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge handling the case to allow Ny Sokha to receive treatment outside the jail.

On 27 April 2017, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court extended Ny Sokha’s pre-trial detention along with one other senior ADHOC staff and with human rights defenders, Lim Mony, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya by an additional six months, purportedly to further investigate their case. The five human rights defenders were arrested on 28 April 2016 and have already spent more than a year in pre-trial detention.

Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the decline in Ny Sokha’s state of health and urges the Cambodian authorities to drop all charges brought against him as well as against Lim Mony, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya, as it believes they are directly linked to their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights in Cambodia.

27 April 2017
Pre-trial detention of ADHOC HRDs extended by 6 months

On 27 April 2017, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court extended the pre-trial detention of senior ADHOC staff and human rights defenders, Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Ny Chakrya by an additional six months, purportedly to further investigate their case. The five human rights defenders have already spent a year in pre-trial detention.

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is a human rights organisation founded in December 1991 by a group of former political prisoners aiming to address the absence of basic rights and freedoms in Cambodia. The organisation assists human rights victims and disseminates information on human rights, law and democracy to the Cambodian public. Lim Mony is Senior Investigator within the organisation, Ny Sokha is the Head of Monitoring, while Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan serve as deputies of the latter. Ny Chakrya, who is a former ADHOC staff member, was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC), an independent agency that supervises national elections in Cambodia.

On 27 April 2017, Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s Investigating Judge Theam Chanpiseth extended the pre-trial detention of the five human rights defenders by six months, citing the need for further investigation into their case. According to the defenders’ lawyers however, in the last six months, only one witness was questioned in connection to the case. The five human rights defenders were arrested on 28 April 2016 by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), and placed in custody in the ACU’s compound in Phnom Penh. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony were charged with bribery of a witness under Article 548 of the Criminal Code while Ny Chakrya was charged as accomplice to bribery of a witness. 28 April 2017 marks one year since the five were taken into custody. After the Court’s decision - and the possibility of yet another bail appeal being denied - they could face up to six more months in prison before a judge has to decide whether to drop the charges or proceed to trial. If this happens, they will have spent the maximum time in pre-trial detention allowed by Cambodian law.

Front Line Defenders condemns the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to extend the pre-trial detention of Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakrya, as it believes it is solely related to their peaceful and legitimate work reporting human rights abuses in Cambodia. Front Line Defenders calls on the Cambodian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakrya and withdraw all charges held against them.

14 March 2017
Continued arbitrary detention of ADHOC human rights defenders

On 13 March 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to extend the pre-trial detention of senior ADHOC staff and human rights defenders, Lim Mony, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan, subsequent to the initial passing of the six month detention mark at the end of 2016. The fifth human rights defender involved in the case, Ny Chakrya, will appear before the Supreme Court on 24 March 2017.

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) is a human rights organisation founded in December 1991 by a group of former political prisoners aiming to address the absence of basic rights and freedoms in Cambodia. The organisation assists human rights victims and disseminates information on human rights, law and democracy among Cambodians. Lim Mony is Senior Investigator within the organisation, Ny Sokha is the Head of Monitoring, while Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan serve as deputies of the latter. Ny Chakrya, who is a former ADHOC staff member, has recently been appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC), an independent agency that supervises national elections in Cambodia.

On 13 March 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's decision from 28 November 2016 to extend the pre-trial detention of the four ADHOC human rights defenders for a further six months. Ny Chakrya's hearing in the same matter is set to be held on 24 March 2017. In October 2016, the Investigating Judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court had decided to extend the pre-trial detention for another six months, on the basis that he intended to examine further witnesses and re-examine witnesses he had already questioned. The five human rights defenders were arrested on 28 April 2016 by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), and placed in custody in the ACU’s compound in Phnom Penh. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony were charged with bribery of a witness under Article 548 of the Criminal Code while Ny Chakrya was charged as accomplice to bribery of a witness. As of 14 March 2017, the five human rights defenders had spent 320 days in pre-trial detention.

Front Line Defenders condemns the Supreme Court’s decision to extend the detention of Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony, as it believes it is solely related to their peaceful and legitimate work reporting human rights abuses in Cambodia. Front Line Defenders calls on the Cambodian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakrya and withdraw all charges held against them.

31 October 2016
Pre-Trial Detention Extended

On 27 October 2016, the Investigating Judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to extend pre-trial detention for another six months, on the basis that he intended to examine further witnesses and re-examine witnesses he had already questioned. The team of lawyers is preparing an appeal against this decision. 

Read more about the campaign to #Freethe5KH.

On 28 April 2016, four senior officers of human rights organisation ADHOC - Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony, and an NEC official - Ny Chakrya, were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), and placed in custody in the Unit's compound in Phnom Penh. The five human rights defenders were interrogated for four days, first by ACU officers and then by the Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

4 May 2016
Human rights defenders detained and charged

On 2 May 2016, six human rights defenders from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), the National Election Committee (NEC) and the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Cambodia, were officially charged. Four human rights defenders were charged with bribery of a witness and two  were charged with being accomplices to the bribery of a witness. On the same day, five of the defenders were sent to pre-trial detention. 

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

ADHOC is a human rights organisation founded in December 1991 by a group of former political prisoners aiming to address the absence of basic rights and freedoms in Cambodia. The organisation assists human rights victims and disseminates information on human rights, law and democracy among Cambodians. Ms Lim Mony is Senior Investigator within the organisation, Mr Ny Sokha is the Head of Monitoring, while Mr Nay Vanda and Mr Yi Soksan serve as deputies of the latter. Mr Ny Chakrya, who is a former ADHOC staff member, has recently been appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the NEC, an independent agency that supervises national elections in Cambodia. Mr Sally Soen is an employee of the United Nations OHCHR in Cambodia.

On 2 May 2016, following the decision of the investigating judge, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony were charged with bribery of a witness under Article 548 of the Criminal Code and sent to CC1 and CC2 prisons in Phnom Penh. NEC staff member, Ny Chakrya, and Sally Soen from the UNOHCHR were charged as accomplices to bribery of a witness in accordance with Articles 29 and 548 of the Criminal Code. Ny Chakrya was subsequently sent to the Police Judiciare Prison. Sally Soen has not yet been arrested. As an employee of an international organisation, he enjoys diplomatic immunity in Cambodia and unless it is waived, cannot be prosecuted. The Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen, has stated that Sally Soen is not entitled to any special protection. If convicted, all six human rights defenders could be sentenced to between five and ten years’ imprisonment.

On 28 April 2016, four senior officers of human rights organisation ADHOC - Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony, and an NEC official - Ny Chakrya, were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), and placed in custody in the Unit's compound in Phnom Penh. The five human rights defenders were interrogated for four days, first by ACU officers and then by the Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. The arrest took place after the human rights defenders had been questioned by the ACU over allegations that they had instructed and bribed a salon worker, Ms Khom Chandaraty, to deny an alleged affair with Mr Kem Sokha, acting vice-president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party. A summons to appear for questioning was issued by the ACU on 25 April 2016.  

On 22 April 2016, in an open letter, Khom Chandaraty accused the six human rights defenders of forcing her to lie before the Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Court. The letter was issued following her questioning by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, anti-terrorism police and a prosecutor about an alleged affair with Khem Sokha. Previously, Khom Chandaraty had also accused the ADHOC lawyer Ms Try Chhuon, a women’s rights advocate Ms Thida Khus and local commune chief Mr Seang Chet of persuading her to lie. On 27 April 2016, Seang Chet was charged with bribery for allegedly paying Khom Chandaraty U.S. $500 to deny the affair and was then placed in prison. With regards Try Chhuon and Thida Khus, the ACU concluded that they had not committed any offence.
On 5 April 2016, the ADHOC responded positively to the request of Khom Chandaraty for legal and financial assistance. This followed a request made on 9 March 2016 by Khom Chandaraty seeking the ADHOC's help with defamatory comments and accusations of engagement in prostitution that she was facing. The ADHOC provided her with U.S. $204 to cover food and transport costs, including to attend questioning by judicial authorities. This legitimate expenditure of a small sum of money to cover basic expenses of a client is now considered by the ACU as bribery and corruption.

Front Line Defenders strongly condemns the charges against Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony, Ny Chakrya and Sally Soen and the pre-trial detention of five of the defenders, which it believes to be directly linked to their peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights in Cambodia, and their assistance to an alleged victim of human rights abuse in a politically-sensitive case at a time of upcoming local and national elections .

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Cambodia to:

1. Immediately and unconditionally release Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Lim Mony and Ny Chakrya, and drop all charges against them including Sally Soen, as Front Line Defenders believes that they have been targeted solely as a result of their legitimate human rights work;

2. Ensure that the treatment of human rights defenders, while in pre-trial detention, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Cambodia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.