We, the undersigned civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations, launch today – 8 August 2016 – the #FreeThe5KH campaign in support of the five human rights defenders, who are currently in pre-trial detention and under judicial investigation for allegations of bribery. The five face charges in regard to providing advice and legitimate reimbursement of food and transport costs to the woman alleged to have had an extra-marital relationship with the deputy opposition leader, Kem Sokha. The charges have all the hallmarks of being politically motivated, amounting to legal harassment. The five rights defenders have now spent over 100 days in prison (102 days as of today).
As part of the campaign, we call on all concerned citizens to send messages of solidarity to the five rights defenders via postcards, which we will collect and deliver to the detainees until they are released. In addition, to raise awareness of their continued detention we will release periodically a series of infographics on our Facebook page and Twitter with the hashtag #FreeThe5KH. This campaign will complement already existing advocacy efforts taken on a local, regional and international level. To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved, please visit www.freethe5kh.net.
The five human rights defenders – four senior staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Mr. Ny Sokha, Mr. Yi Soksan, Mr. Nay Vanda, and Ms. Lim Mony, and deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (and former ADHOC staff member) Mr. Ny Chakrya – were detained on 28 April 2016. On 2 May, the four ADHOC staff were charged with bribing a witness, and Mr. Ny Chakrya was charged as an accomplice to the same crime. United Nations (UN) staffer Mr. Soen Sally was also charged as an accomplice; however, he remains free due to his immunity as a UN official. That same day, Mr. Ny Chakrya was transferred to Police Judiciare and the four ADHOC staff were transferred to Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison. The Appeal Court denied the detainees bail on 13 June. A final appeal against the bail decisions is pending before the Supreme Court.
The #FreeThe5KH campaign aims to garner support for the five detained human rights defenders, to remind them that the public has not forgotten about their cause and to help keep their morale high while they remain in detention.
This joint press release is endorsed by:
Dowload this joint press release in English here.