The Court of Appeal yesterday held a closed-door bail hearing for Russia Today news fixer Rath Rott Mony, who was charged over his role in the production of a controversial sex trafficking documentary.
Mr Rott Mony was charged with incitement to discriminate by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and was jailed pending trial. The court also denied bail to Mr Rott Mony on grounds he could flee the country.
Appeal Court spokesman Touch Tharith said Mr Rott Mony’s two lawyers were not invited to attend the hearing because they did not file a request.
“Mr Rott Mony alone was questioned during the hearing,” Mr Tharith said. “The judge will consider granting him bail after considering the answers Mr Rott Mony provided.”
Sam Titseyha, Mr Rott Mony’s lawyer, said he did file a request, but was required to file another.
“I was told earlier that I need to make another request to attend the hearing, but I was unaware of this,” Mr Titseyha said. “I hope the Appeal Court judge will examine the appeal request and grant my client bail.”
The “My Mother Sold Me” documentary Mr Rott Mony helped produce went viral before it was dismissed as fake news by the government after sources featured in it retracted their statements over their daughter’s virginity being sold.
The Russia Today press office has said it is in regular contact with Mr Rott Mony’s family and will support them in any way possible.
Long Kimheang, Mr Rott Mony’s wife, yesterday pleaded for her husband’s exoneration so that he could reunite with their son.
“I pray for my husband – I hope the judge will grant him bail. We pledged that we would not run. Our family needs him,” Ms Kimheang said. “He did nothing wrong, why keep him in detention for this long?”
A Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge has said Mr Rott Mony is a flight risk, noting that he fled to Thailand and attempted to seek asylum in the Netherlands when he was wanted for questioning over his role in the film.