After his appeal hearing was delayed yesterday, Rath Rott Mony, the Russia Today news fixer convicted over his role in the production of a sex trafficking documentary, called on the government to acknowledge the problem uncovered in the film and have his conviction overturned.
My Mother Sold Me was a documentary film by RT that detailed destitute families in Cambodia selling off their daughters’ virginity for before forcing them into prostitution.
The film was dismissed as fake news by the government and Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June found Mr Rott Mony guilty of incitement to discriminate and sentenced him to two years in prison over his role in its production.
Outside of the Appeal Court, Mr Rott Mony said he worked with RT as a news fixer and translator.
“I hope the government would look into the problem revealed in the film and address it. This film is factual. There are other women out there who have suffered from undesired fortunes like [the girls and women in the documentary] – they need help and support, we can’t ignore them,” Mr Rott Mony said.
After the film went viral in October last year, a mother and daughter featured in it retracted their statements after being questioned by police as the government dismissed it as fake news. Mr Rott Mony said he does not blame them.
“I do not mind that they retracted their statements and laid all the blame on me because I think they were under pressure from revealing the truth,” he added. “I hope the Appeal Court will grant me justice and overturn the conviction.”
He added that he did not convince anyone in the film to take part and deliver fake news to the audience. Mr Rott Mony said those in the film signed documents and agreed to tell the truth.
Regarding the appeal, Sam Tithseyha, Mr Rott Mony’s lawyer, said the Appeal Court delayed the hearing because the mother-daughter duo was absent.
“I brought claims and evidence that require both plaintiffs and victims to respond in front of the judges,” Mr Tithseyha said. “Without their presence, I do not think it’s a good idea to start the hearing and question only my client.”
He noted that he asked Presiding Judge Plong Samnang to re-invite the plaintiffs and victims.
Judge Samnang yesterday identified the plaintiffs as Indra Tevi High School rector Nak Sothea and Kav Malay and Tep Salim, mothers of two girls featured in the film.
Judge Samnang said the plaintiffs and victims were invited to come to the hearing, but they were unable to be located.
“I already sent out invitations to all these people, but our police officers were not able to find them because they moved,” he said. “I want to ensure that Mr Rott Mony can have access to proper justice based on the law. I will invite the plaintiffs and victims again.”