Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday denied bail to a news fixer who was charged over his role in the production of a sex trafficking documentary dismissed as fake news.
Court spokesman Sous Vichea Randy said Investigating Judge Seng Rithy denied granting bail to Rath Rott Mony, who was jailed on charges of incitement to discriminate after aiding the production of the Russia Today sex trafficking film.
“I could not tell the reason behind this decision. I think it basically was because the judge thought that it’s important to keep him in detention so that the authorities can continue investigations,” Mr Randy said, adding that the bail deliberation was conducted on Friday.
Judge Rithy declined to comment yesterday.
Mr Rott Mony has been placed in pre-trial detention in Prey Sar prison since December 13.
Sam Titseyha, a lawyer with rights group Adhoc aiding Mr Rott Mony, said the judge did not disclose why his client was denied bail.
“It’s disappointing that the judge denied a bail request. I think it is not important to keep my client in pre-trial detention,” Mr Titseyha said. “I will discuss this and appeal it.”
Family members and friends of Mr Rott Mony again attempted to gather in front of the Russian Embassy yesterday to submit a petition for the second time, but dozens of police officers moved them away.
The family wants the Russian government to intervene and lobby the government for Mr Rott Mony’s freedom.
Holding a placard, Long Kimheang, the wife of Mr Roth Mony, called on the Russians to respond to her earlier request in which she asked them to publicly stand by the accuracy of the Russia Today documentary.
“RT said it has submitted a request to the Russian government already but so far, I did not see any action,” Ms Kimheang said. “Russians must be responsible for this because my husband helped their production.”
Russian embassy officials again did not come to accept the petition yesterday.
An RT press officer last month told Khmer Times that they were in regular contact with Mr Rott Mony’s family and will continue to support them.
Since the release of the documentary in October, the government has dismissed the ‘My Mother Sold Me’ film as fake news after the mother and daughter featured in it retracted their statements of the daughter’s virginity being sold.
Mr Rott Mony and his family had briefly fled to Thailand in order to seek asylum in the Netherlands before Thai officials detained and deported him back to Cambodia.