Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former RFA reporters charged with pornography, lawyer says

Former RFA reporters charged with pornography, lawyer says

Former RFA reporter Yeang Sothearin leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this month after being questioned about the pornography charges.
Former RFA reporter Yeang Sothearin leaves the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this month after being questioned about the pornography charges. Pha Lina

Former RFA reporters charged with pornography, lawyer says

The lawyer for two former RFA journalists charged with “espionage” said on Thursday morning they have been additionally charged with production of pornography, seemingly in relation to widely disseminated photos that purportedly show one of them in compromising positions.

Keo Vanny, who represents former Radio Free Asia reporters Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, said they were charged two weeks ago for producing pornography in relation to photos that were published shortly after their arrest by pro-government media outlets in November.

The photos show a man, purported to be Chhin, performing and filming a sex act, though the man in the photos cannot be conclusively identified. Sothearin does not feature anywhere in the photos. The duo was questioned earlier this month in relation to the photos.

“I received the information about the charge from the court on Wednesday,” Vanny said. “Through my discussions with them, they said they had not done it.”

Vanny said he was not sure about the exact charges, but that it could be Article 39 of the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Law, which carries a prison sentence of up to one year for production of pornography.

As of Thursday evening, Vanny said he still had not been handed over the case file because an investigating judge had not been assigned, so he was still unsure of the details.

“We submitted an application for the documents, but it was rejected by the court administration,” he said.

Sothearin and Chhin are facing the heftier charge of “espionage” after being accused of attempting to continue reporting for the US-based RFA after it shuttered its operations in Cambodia amid a wider government crackdown on independent media outlets.

If convicted, they could face seven to 15 years in prison.

Court spokesman Y Rin would only confirm that an investigating judge was looking into the case, but refused to provide details of the exact charges or name of the prosecutor in charge of the case.

A family member of Chhin, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from their employer, said the charges were made up and that the entire investigation, including the espionage charges, was so far based on no evidence.

“It is more than four months and they have not found any documents or evidence to incriminate them but now it has emerged there is another crime.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the