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Court of Appeal upholds denial of bail for Russia Today news fixer

Taing Vida / Khmer Times Share:
Police escort Rath Rott Mony away from court after his first appearance. KT/Mai Vireak

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld the municipal court’s decision to keep Russia Today news fixer Rath Rott Mony in detention pending trial.

Appeal Court spokesman Touch Tharith yesterday said Presiding Judge Suos Sam Ath found it necessary to have Mr Rott Mony imprisoned so that he would not make any move that affects the investigation.

“The judge thought that the Phnom Penh Court’s investigating judge had enough reasons and evidence to deny bail for Mr Rott Mony,” Mr Tharith said. “The judge made the decision solely based on law and was not influenced by anyone.”

Lor Chunthy, Mr Rott Mony’s lawyer, yesterday said he would discuss with his client whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“I was not allowed to attend the hearing on Wednesday so I do not know on what grounds the judge made the decision,” he said. “We had clear supporting arguments to request for bail and I do not understand why we were not allowed to defend Mr Roth Mony in court.”

Mr Rott Mony was charged by Phnom Penh Municipal Court with incitement to discriminate over his role in the production of a controversial RT sex trafficking documentary.

He has been jailed pending trial since December last year. The municipal court also denied bail on the grounds that he could flee the country.

Long Kimheang, Mr Rott Mony’s wife, yesterday visited her husband at Prey Sar prison and noted that he appeared to be ill.

“He looks so ill and is disappointed by the Appeal Court decision,” she said. “He also told me and my son to be careful as we feel that we are being watched by the authorities.”

Reached by phone yesterday, National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said police are still probing the case.

“We need time for this investigation and I cannot reveal what we have found so far,” he said. “I hope his wife will cooperate with police and offer evidence to help clear him if she has any.”

Mr Rott Mony aided the production of the “My Mother Sold Me” documentary, which was dismissed as fake news by the government after sources featured in it retracted their statements over their daughters’ virginity being sold.

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