The wife of detained alleged filmmaker Rath Rott Mony and 10 other protestors gathered outside the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Phnom Penh for a second time on Wednesday, reiterating calls for his release.
The group had initially submitted a petition to the embassy on December 18 calling for its support and that of Russian President Vladimir Putin to secure Rott Mony’s release.
Rott Mony, the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation president, was first arrested on December 7 by Thai police for his alleged role as a producer in the controversial documentary, My Mother Sold Me, that was aired by Russian state news network RT.
It is alleged that a woman who featured in the documentary, which was investigating human trafficking in the Kingdom, was wrongly accused by the film of attempting to sell her daughter’s virginity.
Thai police arrested and deported him on December 12 at the request of Cambodian authorities. The Phnom Penh Municipal Court then ordered Rott Mony’s detention on December 13 under Article 496 of the Criminal Code.
Rott Mony claims he was only an intermediary and translator for the film’s producers.
If convicted, he faces one to three years in prison and a fine of two to four million riel ($500-$1,000).
Long Kimheang, Rott Mony’s wife, said the protest was organised to continue pressuring the embassy to intervene on her husband’s behalf as he was working for Russian state media on the documentary.
“We are following up our petition that we sent online, as last time they refused to receive our petition in person. We’ve learned that RT has already sent a letter to the embassy to ask them to intervene, so we want to check what the embassy has done to help my husband,” she said.
Kimheang said her husband, who is being detained at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison, is experiencing health problems and losing weight.
“On Monday I went to visit him in prison. We talked for around five minutes and he told me that he could not sleep because the room is too crowded and also that he has lost weight. He told me he wanted to have his freedom back,” she said.
Kimheang said on December 24, her husband’s lawyer submitted a request to the municipal court for his release on bail – a request that was denied.
“My husband’s lawyer told me they did not allow his release on bail, but we have not received an official rejection . . . I am very disappointed that they continue to detain him. I’ve lost confidence in our courts. I have no other means to help him besides continuing to petition.
“My husband only did translations and coordination for the documentary. Authorities should crack down on human trafficking cases rather than arresting him,” she said.
Rott Mony’s defence lawyer Sam Titseyha told The Post on Wednesday that he would submit a second request to the municipal court asking for bail.
“If the court rejects the second request, we will go to the Appeal Court.
“I’ve already discussed with my client’s family that we will continue to request his release on bail and collect more evidence [as to his innocence],” he said.