Cambodia: Continued judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya

12/10/2015
Urgent Appeal

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

New information
KHM 002 / 0715 / OBS 056.2
Judicial harassment
Cambodia
October 12, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Cambodia.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the continued judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya, Head of the Human Rights and Legal Aid Section of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC).

According to the information received, on October 7, 2015, the wife of Mr. Ny Chakrya received a subpoena delivered to his home address, requesting Mr. Ny Chakrya to appear in camera before the Investigating Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 21, 2015 at 9am.

The Observatory recalls that Mr. Ny Chakrya is facing charges of “public defamation”, “acts of slanderous denunciation”, and “publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction” (see background information). Together, the three accusations could lead to up to a year-and-a-half in prison, plus fines [1].

The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya, which only aims at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities, and calls upon the Cambodian authorities to put an immediate end to it.

The Observatory also highlights that pursuant to Article 188 of the Cambodian Criminal Procedure Code, a subpoena has to be delivered personally to the concerned person, who in turn either signs or fingerprints the document, in order to confirm its receipt. The fact that the subpoena was handed down to the wife of Mr. Ny Chakrya is therefore a blatant violation of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Background information:

On July 1, 2015, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court summonsed Mr. Ny Chakrya to appear for questioning before the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on July 13, 2015.

On that day, Mr. Ny Chakrya was accused of “public defamation” (Article 305 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), “acts of slanderous denunciation” (Article 311 of the Cambodian Criminal Code), and “publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction” (Article 522 of the Cambodian Criminal Code). This followed a complaint filed by the investigating judge of the Siem Reap Provincial Court and the Deputy Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court on the above-mentioned charges.

The complaint was related to a press conference organised by ADHOC’s office in Siem Reap on May 12, 2015, during which Mr. Ny Chakrya, along with one ADHOC lawyer, Ms. Pouk Yarann, condemned the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Ven Lorn and Mr. Beourn Sok, two residents of the Chup Romdeng Village (Phnom Sra Ngam area, Kantout Commune, Svay Leu District, Siem Reap Province) involved in a high profile land dispute in the Siem Reap Province.

On May 15, 2015, the Prosecution Office of the Siem Reap Provincial Court published a statement threatening Mr. Ny Chakrya and Ms. Pouk Yarann that it would initiate legal proceedings against them, alleging that the “provocative comments” made during the press conference jeopardised the effective functioning of the Cambodian judicial institutions and the on-going proceedings in the concerned land dispute.

On May 20, 2015, Mr. Ny Chakrya filed a complaint with the President of the Disciplinary Council of the Supreme Council of Magistracy, claiming that the proceedings against Mr. Ven Lorn and Mr. Beourn Sok were not conducted in accordance with fair trial standards because of the lack of independence of the Deputy Prosecutor. No developments have been observed since the complaint was filed.

On June 22, 2015, the Cambodian Bar Association lodged a disciplinary complaint against Ms. Pouk Yarann, accusing her to provide Mr. Ny Chakrya with legal advice when submitting the complaint to the Supreme Council of Magistracy. She was summoned for questioning on July 3, 2015 by the Investigating Committee of the Cambodian Bar Association, which subsequently issued a report to the President of the Cambodian Bar Association. Since then, there have been no developments.

On June 17, 2015, at 8:30am, Mr. Ven Lorn and Mr. Beourn Sok were found guilty on charges of inciting a group of residents of Chup Romdeng Village to destroy and intrude on the property of the agricultural development company, Takhmao Community Industrial Development and Agricultural Trading Company (TCIDA) [2]. They were sentenced to six and eight months in prison respectively.

On July 19, 2015, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to refer Mr. Ny Chakrya’s file on the above mentioned charges to the investigating judge.

Actions requested:

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

i. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Ny Chakrya as well as of all human rights defenders in the country;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ny Chakrya as well as of all human rights defenders in Cambodia;

iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its:
- Article 1, which states that "everyone has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels",
- Article 5 b) which stipulates that everyone has the right "to form, join and participate in non-governmental organisations, associations or groups",
- as well as Article 12.2, which provides that "the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration";

iv. 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, 41 Russian Federation Blvd, Phnom Penh, 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. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, Fax: + (+855) 23 882 065, Email: leewood_phu@nida.gov.kh, info@pressocm.gov.kh
· Mr. Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior, 275 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 212708
· Mr. Ang Vong Vathna, Minister of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 240 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 364 119
· Mr. Hor Nam Hong, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 161 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. Fax: + 855 23 216 144 / 855 23 216 141 Email: mfaic@mfa.gov.kh
· Mr. Mak Sambath, Minister & President of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, Office of the Prime Minister, Phnom Penh, 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)
· Ambassador Mr. Ney Samol, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin de Taverney 3, Case postale 213, 1218 Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 788 77 74, Email: camemb.gva@mfa.gov.kh / cambodge@bluewin.ch

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

***
Paris-Geneva, October 12, 2015

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of human rights defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

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

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