(Jakarta, 27 September 2018) – The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), CIVICUS, Freedom House, and Front Line Defenders condemn yesterday’s conviction of four human rights defenders from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and a National Election Committee (NEC) official, in what we see as a clear attack against their legitimate human rights work.

On 26 September 2018, senior ADHOC staff members – Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Lim Mony, and Yi Soksan – were convicted of ‘bribery of a witness’ under Article 548 of the Criminal Code, while a NEC official and former ADHOC staff member Ny Chakrya was found guilty as an accomplice under Articles 29 and 548 of the same Criminal Code. Each has been given a five-year sentence by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, with 14 months and one day considered served and the rest of the sentence suspended.

The accused have longstanding histories of promoting human rights in Cambodia, supporting victims of human rights violations and survivors of gender-based violence. In 2017, they were selected as finalists for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders,[1] in recognition of their important work. This wrongful conviction adds to the long list of attempts by the Cambodian Government to curb fundamental freedoms and dissenting opinion by orchestrating intimidation, prosecution, and imprisonment of human rights defenders.[2]

The case relates to the legitimate assistance provided to a victim of government harassment in 2016, which was within the mandate of ADHOC’s human rights work. The one-day trial[3] on 18…