The Supreme Court yesterday heard the case of former RT News fixer Rath Rott Mony who was convicted of incitement to discriminate in connection with the production of a sex trafficking documentary called “My Mother Sold Me” in 2018.
The news documentary detailed destitute families selling off their daughters’ virginity for about $400 each, following which they were forced into prostitution.
Presiding Judge Kim Sothavy said Rott Mony, 48, was charged with “incitement to discriminate” under Articles 494 and 496 of the Criminal Code. He was arrested on December 9, 2018.
Rott Mony was convicted on June 26 last year by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and sentenced to two years in prison with a fine of $16,000. He appealed the conviction at the Appeal Court.
Judge Sothvany added that on November 29, the Appeal Court upheld his conviction and he appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the conviction and release him from prison.
During yesterday’s hearing, Rott Mony denied the allegations, saying the sentence meted out by the lower courts was very unjust because he did not commit the offence for which he was accused and convicted.
He told the court he was not the producer of the film but was only a fixer and the translator and had no say over its content.
Rott Mony asked the Supreme Court to drop the charge and release him from prison.
His lawyer Lor Chunthy told the court that his client’s role in RT News was just to translate and was in contact with people and sought permission from officials for the production of “My Mother Sold Me”.
He said Rott Mony should not be held responsible for the contents of the documentary.
“The judges at the lower courts have made a mistake in deciding to convict my client and sentence him to two years in jail because they did not properly study or inspect the elements of the accusation against my client,” Mr Chunrhy said. “My client did not produce the documentary or the story. The film was produced by RT News.”
“Now, I hope and trust the Supreme Court will find the truth and justice for my client. Therefore, I would like to ask the Judges’ Council to acquit him and release him from prison,” he added.
Deputy prosecutor Chhuon Chantha told the court that despite the denials from Rott Mony and his lawyer, the convict was involved with the RT News film production because without his help, the documentary could not have been produced.
“In the name of the court’s prosecutor, I decide to maintain the charge against Rath Rott Mony,” he said. “I ask the Judges’ Council of the Supreme Court to uphold the ruling of the Appeal Court.”
A verdict will be handed down on July 15.