A Phnom Penh Municipal Court document obtained by Khmer Times yesterday showed that Russia Today news fixer Rath Rott Mony was denied bail last week because the Investigating Judge deemed him a risk to an ongoing investigation into the sex trafficking film he helped produce.
The court has charged Mr Rott Mony with incitement to discriminate over his role in the production of the “My Mother Sold Me” documentary by Russia Today, which was dismissed as fake news by the government after sources in it retracted their statements over the sale of their daughter’s virginity.
In a document obtained by Khmer Times yesterday, Investigating Judge Seng Rithy said that Mr Rott Mony’s ongoing pre-trial detention ensures that he does not contact other suspects being investigated over their role in the film production or sources featured in the documentary.
“We are concerned that the suspect would interact with his associates or get along with the victims and affect the investigation,” Judge Rithy said. “Both victims and witnesses are vulnerable groups of females and some have not been summoned yet.”
The judge also noted that Mr Rott Mony fled to Thailand in order to seek asylum in the Netherlands after the documentary went viral and complaints were filed.
“We could not trust what’s stated in a request filed by his lawyer Sam Titseyha,” Judge Rithy said. “It’s not convincing enough and the suspect is required to appear for questioning, so it’s best to keep him in detention.”
Mr Rott Mony has been in pre-trial detention in Prey Sar prison since he was arrested and charged last month.
Mr Titseyha, Mr Rott Mony’s lawyer, said he filed an appeal with the Appeal Court yesterday morning in order to have his client freed on bail.
“The evidence I have clearly proves that my client carried out his work with professionalism during the production of the RT film,” Mr Titseyha said. “There is no reason why he would flee if he were on bail. This is guaranteed in the bail request.”
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun yesterday said police are now hunting down Mr Rott Mony’s associates and noted that the investigation will require time.
“Our police are trying to request cooperation from the sources featured in the film,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said. “Some of them have already given answers, while others have not. We need time for this and I can’t reveal any more information.”
He noted that one of the sources in the documentary has refused to aid the authorities, adding that the source is standing by the film’s authenticity.
Long Kimheang, Mr Rott Mony’s wife, yesterday said she met her husband in Prey Sar prison and said that she’s concerned about his health.
Ms Kimheang said the Russian government should stand by Russia Today’s report and help free her husband.
“It was shameful that the Russian government did not respond to my request to publicly stand by the accuracy of the Russia Today film and intervene in the case,” she said.