The defence lawyer for two former Radio Free Asia reporters will file an appeal with the Supreme Court tomorrow challenging their detention on charges of “espionage”. The Appeal Court upheld their pre-trial detention last week.
Former RFA journalists Yeang Sothearin and Oun Chhin were arrested in November on suspicion of sending news stories to the US-funded broadcaster and subsequently charged with providing “a foreign state with information which undermines national defence”.
RFA ceased its in-country operations in September amid a clampdown on independent media outlets and has denied employing the reporters.
The duo’s lawyer, Keo Vanny, today said he would file a motion with the Supreme Court challenging the Appeal Court’s decision.
“For the bail complaint of my clients, who are former RFA [reporters], I will file it to the Supreme Court on January 2. This is a complaint against the denial of bail by the Appeal Court,” Vanny said.
Vanny deemed the December 27 Appeal Court decision unfair because, he said, his clients had not committed a crime.
“Everything, including the profiles of my clients, has been sent to the court already and their passports as well. So there is nothing that the court could say to not free my clients,” Vanny added.
If convicted, the pair faces up to 15 years in prison.