Long Kimheang, the wife of alleged filmmaker Rath Rott Mony, and 10 other family members gathered for the fifth time in front of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Phnom Penh, reiterating calls for his release.
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.
Sam Titseyha, Rott Mony’s lawyer, submitted a complaint to the Supreme Court on February 5 after the Appeal Court’s decision not to release him on bail, upholding Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s January 31 verdict.
Kimheang told The Post on Wednesday her husband had never been sick but, since his detention in Prey Sar prison, his health condition had deteriorated. She said Rott Mony has body aches, he has lost a lot of weight and he is unable to sleep because his cell is so small.
“Mony told me his sleeping area is small. It is hard to sleep. There are too many prisoners. I am worried about his health. I am afraid he might have contracted a disease because he is never sick,” she said.
Kimheang said that while Rott Mony is being detained, his family cannot earn any income to support daily expenses.
“I have filed a petition through email because they would not let us inside to hand over the petition. We know the Russian TV sent a letter requesting intervention from the embassy. I want to know what they can do to help my husband,” she said.
Titseyha could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but he is waiting for the Supreme Court to respond.
He said previously: “His [Rott Mony’s] alleged wrongdoing does not seriously affect public order or threaten any individual. On another note, it is not required for the accused to be detained. This means he could be on bail while the investigation continues.”
The Ministry of Interior’s general prisons department spokesman, Nuth Savna, could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
A Russian embassy representative did not respond to The Post’s email and did not come outside to meet protesters.
Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesperson for rights group Adhoc, told The Post: “Sometimes prisoners are detained for four or five years, despite the court having no evidence to prove them guilty . . . It is a huge violation of human rights.”
Rott Mony, who is 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.
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.