Alleged filmmaker Rath Rott Mony’s supporters and wife, Long Kimheang, gathered outside the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Phnom Penh for a fourth time on Wednesday, reiterating calls for his release, after the Appeal Court rejected his plea for bail last week.
Rott Mony has been “temporarily detained” for his suspected role in a documentary shown last October by RT, formerly Russia Today.
The documentary, My Mother Sold Me, addressed sex-trafficking in Cambodia and allegedly depicted a young Cambodian woman selling her daughter’s virginity. But Rott Mony’s exact role in the film remains a source of controversy.
Calling on Putin
Kimheang said the group had previously submitted a petition to the embassy, calling for its support and that of Russian President Vladimir Putin to release her husband from prison.
“I come here to follow up the petition which I sent via email. To our knowledge, the TV station [RT] has also sent a letter to the embassy, seeking intervention . . . We would like to know what measures they [the embassy] have taken to help my husband,” she said.
Kimheang said the embassy has not given any response to the petition and no representative has met with the protestors.
She said Rott Mony’s health is deteriorating behind bars, and that he has become thinner and has difficulty breathing.
‘Incitement to discriminate’
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 13 formally accused Rott Mony of “incitement to discriminate” under Article 496 of the Criminal Code. He could serve one to three years in prison and receive a fine of two to four million riel ($500-$1,000) if found guilty.
On January 31, the Appeal Court disallowed Rott Mony’s bail and upheld the municipal court’s ruling of keeping him in custody – a decision that “deeply disappointed” Kimheang, prompting her and his attorneys to lodge a complaint with the Supreme Court.
“I will continue seeking justice [for Rott Mony]. At the moment, we are waiting for the response from the Supreme Court,” Kimheang said.
Speaking to The Post, Sam Titseyha – one of Rott Mony’s defence lawyers – said the complaint had been filed at the Supreme Court as of Wednesday afternoon.
He noted that the decision came from his client who had been unhappy with the most recent Appeal Court verdict. Titseyha stressed that Rott Mony has the right to plead for bail, as stipulated in the Civil Code.
“His [Rott Mony’s] alleged wrongdoing does not seriously affect public order and threaten any individual. On another note, it is not required for the accused to be detained. This means he could be bailed while the investigation continues,” Titseyha said.
Supreme Court spokesperson Nouv Monychot could not be reached for comment.
Rott Mony, who is also the president of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF), was arrested by Thai authorities at the request of their Cambodian counterparts last December.
He and his wife were in the Kingdom to shoot a film about Cambodian migrant workers and to lodge New Zealand visa applications.
Prior to the arrest, deputy National Police chief Chhay Kim Khoeun had said that My Mother Sold Me is fiction and its showing had tarnished the image of Cambodia’s traditions.
The mother and daughter who were featured in the film – Kav Malay and Khieng Sreymich – also told authorities that Rott Mony had misinformed them that the documentary would depict “post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia”.
But, when they found out it was in fact about sex trafficking, the two filed a complaint with authorities.
The Post’s attempts to reach Malay for comment on Wednesday were unsuccessful.