Cambodia: Ongoing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony

09/12/2016
Urgent Appeal

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information
KHM 001 / 0616 / OBS 047.2

Judicial harassment /
Arbitrary detention
Cambodia
December 9, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cambodia.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the ongoing judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Mr. Ny Chakrya, former Head of the Human Rights and Monitoring Section of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and now Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC), as well as of four ADHOC staff members, Messrs. Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony.

According to the information received, on November 30, 2016, the Supreme Court upheld a previous decision adopted by the Court of Appeals on June 13, 2016 to refuse to release Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony on bail. The Court based its decision on Article 205 of the Criminal Procedure Code [1], therefore, upholding the continued applicability of both detention grounds, i.e. to maintain public order and prevent collusion with accomplices, victims, and witnesses.

The Supreme Court’s verdict was preceded by two other Court of Appeals rulings. On November 11, 2016, the five defenders were denied bail for the second time by the Court of Appeals (see Background information). On November 28, 2016, the Court of Appeals upheld the extension of the pre-trial detention for another six months and refused to close the investigation. The Court argued that the issues of the extension of the detention and the continuation of the investigation were up to the discretion of the Investigating Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

The Observatory considers that this decision infringes upon Article 208 of the Criminal Procedure Code because there is no “clear and well-motivated warrant” to extend the detention, as stipulated in the article [2].

The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing arbitrary detention of Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony, which only aims at sanctioning their legitimate human rights activities, and calls upon the Cambodian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the five human rights defenders.

Until their unconditional release, the Observatory further urges the Cambodian authorities to ensure that all judicial proceedings against them are carried out in full compliance with their right to a fair trial, as protected under international law.

Background information:

On April 27 and 28, 2016, Messrs. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Try Chhuon, and Ms. Lim Mony - as well as Mr. Ny Chakrya were brought in for questioning by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). UNOHCHR official Mr. Soen Sally, who was also summoned, did not appear before the ACU due to his immunity as a UN staff member.

On May 2, 2016, following five to six days of questioning by the ACU and then by the prosecutor, Messrs. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, and Ms. Lim Mony were charged with “bribery of a witness” under Article 548 of the Criminal Code and detained. In addition, Messrs. Ny Chakrya and Soen Sally were charged as “accomplices to bribery of a witness” (Articles 29 and 548 of the Criminal Code). Mr. Ny Chakrya was also detained.

The charges were related to a complaint signed by Ms. Khom Chandaraty (also known as Ms. Srey Mom), which was lodged following her questioning in March 2016 by anti-terrorism police and a prosecutor about an alleged affair with deputy opposition leader Mr. Khem Sokha, after ADHOC responded to Ms. Srey Mom’s request for legal and material assistance - a US$204 allowance to cover food and transport costs. This legitimate support, aimed at covering the basic expenses of a client, was construed by the ACU as bribery and corruption.

On June 13, 2016, the Court of Appeals in Phnom Penh denied bail to Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, and Ms. Lim Mony. The defendants appealed the decision.

On September 22, 2016, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Mr. Ny Chakrya to six months in prison and a six-million-Riel (about 1,414 Euros) fine in relation to another criminal case [3]. Mr. Ny Chakrya filed an appeal against his conviction. After a hearing scheduled on December 6, 2016, the Court of Appeals is expected to render its decision on December 14, 2016.

On September 28, 2016, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court denied bail to Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony.

On October 27, 2016, as the period of pre-trial detention of Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony was about to expire, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court extended the detention of the five for up to another six months under the pretext that the defendants needed to remain available for any further interrogation and court procedures.

Messrs. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, and Yi Soksan remain in detention in Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 1 (‘CC1’), while Ms. Lim Mony is detained in Prey Sar’s Correctional Centre 2 (‘CC2’). Mr. Ny Chakrya is detained in Police Judiciaire (PJ) prison. All three jails are located in Phnom Penh. All of the detainees are being held alongside convicted criminals, contrary to Article 10(2)(a) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Article 26 of Cambodia’s Law on Prisons.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the Kingdom of Cambodia asking them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony as their detention is arbitrary since it only aims at sanctioning their human rights activities;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances their physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Cambodia;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Ny Chakrya, Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

v. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Addresses:

· Mr. Hun Sen, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 360666 / +855 23 880624 (c/o Council of Ministers), Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh / cppparty@gmail.com
· Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 212708
· Mr. Ang Vong Vathna, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 364 119
· Mr. Prak Sokhon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 216 144 / +855 23 216 141, Email: mfaic@mfa.gov.kh
· Mr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 23 882 065, Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh / info@pressocm.gov.kh
· Mr. Keo Remy, President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Office of the Prime Minister, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: +855 12 81 37 81 / +855 23 21 11 62 or +855 23 88 10 45 (c/o Council of Ministers)
· Mr. Bun Hun, President of the Cambodian Bar Association. Fax: +855 23 864 076, Email: info@bakc.org.kh
· Ambassador Mr. Ney Samol, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 788 77 74, Email: camemb.gva@mfa.gov.kh

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Cambodia in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 9, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Read more
appelobs