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

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Temporarily laid-off workers to get just $70

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced changes in the allowances for temporarily laid-off garment workers from receiving 60 per cent of the minimum wage to a flat $70 because factories cannot pay, he said. Workers will also not be required to attend training courses after more than 100 factories

  • PM imposes lockdown

    The government has ordered a lockdown of all district and provincial borders within the Kingdom from midnight on Thursday to midnight on April 16. The public is not allowed to travel out of their districts or provinces to halt the spread of Covid-19 in light of

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to