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Election Body Meets to Discuss Case Against Member

Ny Chakrya, second from left, former ADHOC and a National Election Committee member who worked at the organization, sits in a car and is transported back to an Anti-Corruption Unit, ACU, after a short appearance at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Saturday, April 30, 2016. Cambodian authorities arrested five human rights workers last Friday on accusations they tried to help cover up a woman's affair with the deputy leader of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party. The action is the latest in a series by Prime Minister Hun Sen's government putting legal pressure on its critics and political opponents. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Ny Chakrya still holds his position as the NEC’s deputy secretary general despite the criminal charge.

The National Election Committee is creating a working team to study the case against its recently appointed deputy secretary general Ny Chakrya for allegedly attempting to cover up a sex scandal involving deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha.

The working team – comprised of legal experts – is studying the case closely, said NEC spokesman Hang Puthea, who is also the ninth, non-partisan member of the electoral body.

Keo Phally, head of the NEC’s legal department, his assistant Ke Rith, and Khorn Keo Mono, head of the body’s communications department, will be named as members of the working team, according to Hang Puthea.

He added that the working group was created at the request of Ny Chakrya’s family, which is seeking his release on bail.

“The NEC held a meeting to discuss legal procedures on criminal law, the statute of the NEC and law on elections. The meeting found that the NEC does not have the authority to interfere in the work of other institutions. So the NEC cannot do anything about it,” Puthea said.

After the study made by the working team, the NEC has already sent a letter to the court, he added.

Chakrya still holds his position as the NEC’s deputy secretary general despite the criminal charge.

“We plan to visit him with his lawyer,” Puthea said.

Meanwhile, Chakrya’s lawyer is preparing a document to submit to the court seeking his client’s bail.

Som Sokkong, Chakrya’s lawyer, told VOA on Tuesday that there was a solid legal basis for the bail request, but declined to elaborate.

“For some facts, we think when the case in still under investigation, we cannot reveal them. Journalists would know about it from the hearing and when it is time to speak out.”

Chakrya, a former senior investigator for local human rights organization Adhoc, was detained on Sunday along with four current Adhoc officials on charges of bribing a key witness in a case against Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha.

The four rights workers and Chakrya are alleged to have offered a bribe to Khom Chandaraty, also known as Srey Mom, who is alleged to have been Sokha’s mistress.

She apparently wrote an open letter reneging on her initial statements denying the connection, which has not been independently verified and her “confession” has only been communicated through official channels.

In the letter, dated April 22, she also demanded $300,000 in compensation from Sokha and others involved in the case.