Ahead of the appeal hearing in the case of prisoner of conscience Rath Rott Mony at the Court of Appeal today, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia, said:
It is painfully obvious that the authorities want to make an example of Mony and intimidate anyone else who seeks to uncover human rights violations in Cambodia.
“These are bogus charges. The court must quash the conviction. It is painfully obvious that the authorities want to make an example of Mony and intimidate anyone else who seeks to uncover human rights violations in Cambodia. As a prisoner of conscience, we call for Mony’s immediate and unconditional release.
“Mony helped expose Cambodia’s sexual exploitation crisis and is also an outspoken trade unionist. Jail is affecting his health and his family have been forced into hiding. Authorities should end their ordeal and focus on the country’s human rights problems.”
Rath Rott Mony, 47, is the President of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation. He also works as an English-Khmer translator. He was convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on 26 June 2019 for ‘incitement to discriminate’ under article 496 of the Criminal Code.
Amnesty International considers Rath Rott Mony a prisoner of conscience because he has been arbitrarily criminalised due to the peaceful and legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression.
The charges relate to his work as a ‘fixer’ for a 2017 documentary, My Mother Sold Me, for the news network RT which exposed the sexual exploitation of children in Cambodia. He had previously worked on several other documentaries produced by RT.
Rath Rott Mony was also ordered to pay compensation equal to more than USD$16,000 to the two plaintiffs, both women who appeared in the documentary.