Cambodia: Continued judicial harassment and detention of Mr. Ny Chakrya

15/07/2016
Urgent Appeal

New information
KHM 002 / 0715 / OBS 056.3
Judicial harassment
Cambodia
July 15, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, 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 continued judicial harassment against Mr. Ny Chakrya, former Head of the Human Rights and Monitoring Section of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and serving Deputy Secretary-General of the National Election Committee (NEC).

According to the information received, on July 18, 2016, at 8.00am, Mr. Ny Chakrya will stand trial on defamation charges at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. 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”, under Articles 305, 311, and 522 of the Cambodian Criminal Code (see background information). Mr. Ny Chakrya could face up to one-and-a-half years in prison, in addition to a fine, for the three charges combined. [1]

The Observatory further recalls that Mr. Ny Chakrya has been in pre-trial detention since May 2, 2016, in relation to another case in which he is accused of having been an accomplice in the bribing of a witness. [2]

The Observatory strongly condemns the ongoing judicial harassment of Mr. Ny Chakrya, which only aims at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory demands the Cambodian authorities end Mr. Ny Chakrya harassment and immediately and unconditionally release him.

Until the charges against Mr. Ny Chakrya are dropped, the Observatory urges the Cambodian authorities to ensure that all judicial proceedings against him are carried out in full compliance with his right to a fair trial, as protected under international law.

Background information:

On July 13, 2015, Mr. Ny Chakrya was summoned to appear before the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. On that day, Mr. Ny Chakrya was accused of “public defamation” (Article 305 of the Criminal Code), “acts of slanderous denunciation” (Article 311 of the Criminal Code), and “publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction” (Article 522 of the Criminal Code), following a complaint filed on May 29, 2015, by the investigating judge 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 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 two victims involved in a high-profile land dispute in Siem Reap Province.

On May 15, 2015, the Office of Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court published a statement threatening to initiate legal proceedings against Mr. Ny Chakrya and Ms. Pouk Yarann. The statement alleged that “provocative comments” made during the press conference jeopardised the performance of the Cambodian judicial institutions and the on-going proceedings in the related 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 the two victims involved in the land dispute had not been conducted in accordance with fair trial standards because of a lack of independence on the part of the investigating judge and Deputy Prosecutor of the Siem Reap Provincial Court. To date, the Supreme Council of Magistracy has not responded to Mr. Ny Chakrya’s complaint.

On June 22, 2015, the Cambodian Bar Association lodged a disciplinary complaint against Ms. Pouk Yarann, accusing her of providing legal advice to Mr. Ny Chakrya before he submitted his complaint to the Supreme Council of Magistracy. She was summoned for questioning on July 30, 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 July 18, 2015, the Deputy Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided to refer Mr. Ny Chakrya’s case related to the above-mentioned charges of “public defamation”, “acts of slanderous denunciation”, and “publication of commentaries to put pressure on jurisdiction” to the investigating judge.

On October 7, 2015, the wife of Mr. Ny Chakrya received a subpoena delivered to their home address, requesting Mr. Ny Chakrya to appear in camera before the investigating judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 21, 2015. Pursuant to Article 188 of the Cambodian Criminal Procedure Code, a subpoena has to be delivered personally to the concerned person, who then either signs or fingerprints the document in order to confirm its delivery. The fact that the subpoena was handed to Mr. Ny Chakrya’s is therefore a violation of the Criminal Procedure Code. Mr. Ny Chakrya subsequently declared that he would not go to court unless a new subpoena was issued for him to fingerprint/sign.

On March 14, 2016, Mr. Ny Chakrya was summoned to appear before the investigating judge at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for questioning on April 6, 2016. This time, he attended the meeting.

On May 30, 2016, the Prosecutor of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court filed his final submission to the investigating judge. On May 31, 2016, the investigating judge charged Mr. Ny Chakrya with the three counts of defamation under Articles 305, 311, and 522 of the Criminal Code.

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 against Messrs. Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Yi Soksan, Soen Sally, and Ms. Lim Mony, and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

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

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 of 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.

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