Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 'It is revenge': Bail denied again for RFA reporters accused of espionage

'It is revenge': Bail denied again for RFA reporters accused of espionage

Former RFA reporters Oun Chhin (left) and Yeang Sothearin (right) leave the Appeal Court  on Thursday after their bail request was denied.
Former RFA reporters Oun Chhin (left) and Yeang Sothearin (right) leave the Appeal Court on Thursday after their bail request was denied. Pha Lina

'It is revenge': Bail denied again for RFA reporters accused of espionage

An Appeal Court judge again denied bail on Thursday for two former Radio Free Asia reporters charged with espionage and producing pornography in a case seen as part of Cambodia's crackdown on press freedom.

Oun Chhin,49, and Yeang Sothearin, 35, have been imprisoned since last November after being charged with espionage.

Speaking briefly after the closed-door hearing before Judge Sous Sam Ath , Sothearin described the case against them as an "injustice" that followed their critical reporting on the country's deteriorating political situation. RFA shuttered its in-country service in September.

“The court has investigated for five months but there has not been any result and they continue to only detain me," Sothearin said. “They intend to completely break our spirit.”

Chinn added: “It is revenge."

Their lawyer, Keo Vanny, said the passports and ID cards for both defendants had already been submitted to the court and that their families had promised that they would not escape, but the judge said he still feared that the pair would try to leave the country.

“We wanted the court to require that once a month they must show up at a local authority office and when they do not follow it, the court can detain them," Vanny said.

Vanny said he plans to file an appeal to the Supreme Court, which previously ruled against the pair, who also were charged in March for producing pornography based on photos that purport to show Chhin performing and filming a sex act, although a conclusive identification cannot be made based on the footage.

Sothearin's wife, Lam Chanthy, maintained the pair's innocence.

“The court does not know how to separate the truth," Chanthy said. "They are innocent, but the court pulls them to become guilty. Even though they know all, it still says we are guilty. It has its own intention."

This version corrects the month RFA shuttered its Cambodia operations to September.

MOST VIEWED

  • Website advises travellers to stay clear of Angkor Wat

    An Australian website has advised travellers to avoid Angkor Wat during their trip to Southeast Asia because the ancient temple is showing signs of rapid erosion and faced water management issues. In a recent article entitled Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Passenger taxi boat ridership sinks despite free services

    Passenger taxi boat traffic has dropped by about five per cent compared to the same period last year, despite the government providing free service for garment workers until next year, Phnom Penh Autonomous Bus Transportation Authority director Ean Sokhim said on Monday. In 2018, the Phnom

  • Shipments of mango to South Korea poised to begin this week

    Exports of Cambodian mangoes to South Korea will begin this week after Korean authorities gave the nod. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Requirements director Ker Monthivuth told The Post on Sunday that after several inspections of

  • Kingdom drafting new law to strengthen immigration

    The Ministry of Interior on Tuesday said it had formed a working group to draft amendments to the Law on Immigration. Its secretary of state Sok Phal told The Post that the amendments will strengthen the management of immigrants in line with the current situation.

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that