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Press Briefing – Civil Society Under Threat in Cambodia: One Year in Prison for ADHOC 5

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Civil Society Under Threat in Cambodia: One Year in Prison for ADHOC 5

An event co-organised by Human Rights Watch and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Friday 28 April 2017, 10:30-12:00 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT), Bangkok

Friday marks one year detention for the ADHOC 5. Exactly one year ago – on 28 April 2016 – five Cambodian human rights defenders – four senior staff members from the NGO Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), and the deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee (and former ADHOC staff member) – were detained for providing legal advice and legitimate and transparent reimbursement of food and transport costs to a woman alleged by the Cambodian government to have conducted illegal acts connected to an extra-marital relationship with deputy opposition leader, Kem Sokha. These bogus charges were quickly endorsed by the Anti-Corruption Unit led by government apparatchiks, and rubber-stamped by a politically compliant court.

The ADHOC 5 have been held in pre-trial detention ever since. They have been subjected to a never-ending nightmare of deliberate delays and political manipulation of the judicial system designed to punish them, and intimidate civil society to stifle any criticism of the government as the country heads into commune, and then national, elections. Come hear about the real impact of Cambodia’s intensifying crackdown on human rights and descent into dictatorship that have swept up the ADHOC 5 and other rights defenders in the country.


  • Thun Saray, President, ADHOC, via Skype
  • Betty Yolanda, Director, FORUM-ASIA
  • Phil Robertson, Deputy Director, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch

Contact persons:


Human Rights Watch is an international non-profit, non-governmental human rights organization that works in over 90 countries around the world. Its staff consists of country experts, lawyers, journalists, academics, and other professionals from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups.

FORUM-ASIA is a network of human rights organisations across Asia. FORUM-ASIA works to promote and protect human rights, including the right to development, through collaboration and cooperation among human rights organisations and defenders in Asia and beyond.