Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Case against RFA reporters pushes ahead

Case against RFA reporters pushes ahead

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former RFA reporters Yeang Sothearin (front, in blue shirt) and Oun Chhin (back, in white shirt) are escorted by officials after being detained for questioning in Phnom Penh in November. facebook

Case against RFA reporters pushes ahead

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a complaint to nullify legal proceedings against two former RFA journalists, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, on espionage charges.

Chhin and Sothearin were released on bail on August 21 according to a Phnom Penh Municipal Court order. They were imprisoned for nine months and seven days.

After the verdict was announced by Presiding Judge Kong Srim in the absence of the complainants, Sothearin told The Post that the Supreme Court had upheld the lower court’s ruling despite his lawyers having a strong case.

“I am dissatisfied with the Supreme Court’s decision. It makes me wonder because my lawyers have documents obtained from the police that clearly show the court followed the wrong procedure with our initial 48-hour detention."

“My lawyers explained to the Supreme Court and we expected that we would win because we have evidence and a [strong] claim. In the end, the court verdict has made me very disappointed,” he said.

He said the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s bail with conditions had meant “challenges” that had greatly affected his standard of living.

He said he was confident the Supreme Court would nullify the procedure at Tuesday’s hearing, which would mean the charges would be dropped. He said he was very disappointed with the court’s decision.

“Uon Chhin and I have encountered many similar challenges because we cannot travel, especially as I cannot visit the land of my origin in Kampuchea Krom [an area in western Vietnam inhabited largely by ethnic Cambodians]. We also cannot work properly. We cannot concentrate."

“Our children are worried and afraid that one day we might return to prison. Regarding Uon Chhin, the court will not return his studio equipment to him. He has only this equipment to make a living,” he said.

Keo Vanny, the lawyer who represented the two former RFA journalists, told The Post that he did not know what was behind the Supreme Court’s verdict but he would ask to see the grounds for its decision.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished