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

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Knockout! Kun Khmer replaces ‘Muay’ for Phnom Penh Games

    Cambodia has decided to officially remove the word Muay from the programme of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2023 in May. “Kun Khmer” will instead be used to represent the Southeast Asian sport of kickboxing, in accordance with the wishes of the Cambodian people. Vath

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • New int’l airport nearly half complete as travel industry returns to life

    Construction of a new airport that is slated to serve the capital has passed the 43 per cent completion mark, raising prospects for a proper recovery in the civil aviation and tourism sectors as international travellers return to the Kingdom in increasingly large numbers. The figure

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,