Court Briefs: Documentary Translator’s Case Retried, Dissident Sentenced in Two Cases

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Long Kimheang, wife of jailed translator Rath Rott Mony, protests outside the Russian Embassy in Phnom Penh (VOD file photo)

The Appeal Court in Phnom Penh retried a case involving a Cambodian translator convicted of incitement for assisting on a 2018 Russia Today documentary on sex trafficking in the country.

Rath Rott Mony, who worked on the documentary, was found guilty of incitement after a woman was shown in the piece saying that she had sold her daughter’s virginity, amid other allegations of child sex trafficking. Rott Mony was accused of promising the woman money to tell false stories on camera. He spent two years in prison and was released in December 2020.

At the same time, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the Appeal Court in July 2020, with a judge saying “the Appeal Court’s previous decision is not right.”

Rott Mony was not present in court and has left the country to seek asylum in the United States, nor was a lawyer representing the translator at the hearing.

Presiding judge Ky Rithy read out background information about the case in court and Rott Mony’s prison sentence. He added that the Supreme Court had sent back the case because the charges were not pertinent to the case and the facts did not show who was incited by the accused’s actions.

Appeal Court prosecutor Im Sophan agreed with the Supreme Court’s rationale and asked the court to make a decision keeping in mind the high court’s ruling.

A verdict is scheduled to be announced on August 12.

— Ouch Sony

Dissident Living in Denmark Convicted of Plotting, Incitement

A Cambodian dissident who has political asylum in Denmark was convicted by a Phnom Penh court for incitement and plotting, related to a plan to smuggle in pamphlets from Thailand and for comments he made on Facebook.

Sam Serey is the leader of the Khmer National Liberation Front and left the country in 2010. He has been branded a “terrorist” by the government and formed a government-in-exile in 2016, despite his assertions that his activities are nonviolent.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday found him guilty of plotting, sentencing him to eight years in prison, and in a separate case involving incitement, he was given another 18-month prison sentence. The trial was conducted on July 19.

Judge Khun Sona issued arrest warrants for Serey after announcing the verdict, and said the defendant had the right to appeal.

In the plotting case, police have pointed to Serey’s comments on Facebook in October 2019 — weeks ahead of Sam Rainsy’s planned return to Cambodia — calling for activists and soldiers to gather and liberate the country on November 9, 2019, the same day Rainsy was expected to come back.

In the second case, Serey and six others were charged for a failed attempt in 2017 to send two boxes of pamphlets from Thailand into Cambodia through Poipet. Serey did not have legal representation in this case.

— Ouch Sony

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