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18 Nov 2022

Khuon Narim, CamboJA

Cambodia: Supreme Court uphold guilty verdict of five current and former NGO workers; charges stemmed from NGO assisting a woman victim who turned against it

"Supreme Court Upholds 2018 “Adhoc 5” Bribery Convictions", 18 November 2022

The Supreme Court … upheld the 2018 bribery convictions of five current and former staffers of human rights group Adhoc, concluding the appeal process in a criminal case that critics have said failed to substantiate the charges.

“The Supreme Court has decided to uphold the verdict of the Court of Appeal,” Presiding Judge Nil Non announced …, without detailing a reason for the decision.

…, lawyers for the “Adhoc 5” said their clients should be vindicated since the woman who they were accused of bribing never testified in court…

Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan and Lim Mony — who still work as senior staffers at Adhoc — and former Adhoc employee Nay Vanda were found guilty of bribing a witness ... Ny Chakrya, another former Adhoc staffer who worked for the National Election Committee at the time of the five’s 2016 arrest, was convicted as an accomplice to bribery.

All five were jailed for 14 months before their conviction …, when the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced them to a five-year suspended prison term, including 14 months of time served.

During the trial, the prosecution “failed to present any of the witnesses mentioned in the case or provide any credible evidence to substantiate the charges,” Human Rights Watch said in June

Defense lawyer Sam Titseyha told … after the hearing that he was “disappointed” by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Chandaraty was not called as a witness during the lower court proceedings and “there was no element of bribery,” he said. “This decision has not provided justice to my clients.”