US Envoy Urges Government to Release NGO Staff

Source : The Cambodia Daily / July 20, 2016 by  

A visiting U.S. human rights envoy on Tuesday urged the government to release and drop charges against five current and former rights workers arrested in April amid what he called a deteriorating political situation in which the courts have disproportionately targeted state critics.

The four employees of local rights group Adhoc were arrested along with a former Adhoc officer now working for the National Election Committee (NEC) and charged with bribing a witness for allegedly paying a woman to deny an alleged affair with deputy opposition leader Kem Sokha. Adhoc has rejected the accusation, which has been widely condemned as politically motivated.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski (C), leaves after he paid his respect to the body of Kem Ley, an anti-government figure and the head of grassroots advocacy group "Khmer for Khmer" at a pagoda in Phnom Penh July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

US Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski attends the wake of slain political analyst Kem Ley in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Pring Samrang/Reuters)grassroots advocacy group “Khmer for Khmer” at a pagoda in Phnom Penh July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Samrang Pring

Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said he had petitioned government officials to release the rights defenders.



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