A detained Cambodian union leader who was deported from Thailand and formally charged for his involvement in the production of a documentary about sex trafficking plans to request bail, his lawyer said Friday.
Sam Titseyha told RFA’s Khmer Service that he will file to win release on bail for Rath Rott Mony next week.
Titseyha said because he was just assigned to the case, he does not have exact details, but maintained that Mony did not violate any laws and should not have been arrested. Authorities have claimed women who appeared in the documentary were paid and made up tragic stories of being sold into prostitution.
Titseyha said all parties in the documentary, commissioned by broadcaster Russia Today (RT), agreed to be filmed, and Mony did not intend to damage the reputation of Cambodia.
“If the broadcast affects the country’s image, the Ministry of Information can ask YouTube to take the documentary offline,” the lawyer said.
“This is not an incitement to discriminate,” he said, referring to the exact charge handed down to his client by Phnom Penh Municipal Court Thursday. “It is an educational documentary.”
Mony’s wife Long Kimheang said she met with her husband briefly at a detention center.
She revealed that Mony’s head was shaved and that he felt threatened.
“My husband has changed. I was afraid and shocked,” she said.
But he assured her that he wasn’t tortured, she said.
She said during the meeting Mony told her that he did his part and now the government and the people must step in to help combat human trafficking.
Cambodian authorities say Mony abetted the production of fake news after he helped the broadcaster film the documentary released in October called “My Mother Sold Me,” which tells the stories of impoverished families in Cambodia who hawked the virginity of their daughters, who were later forced into prostitution.
Mony was detained in Bangkok on Dec. 7 while attempting to seek asylum at a visa office for the Netherlands by Thai police acting on a formal request by Cambodia’s government.
He was deported back to Cambodia on Wednesday.
Reported by RFA's Khmer Service. Translated by RFA's Khmer Service. Written in English by Eugene Whong.