Foreign

2 years since arrest, Cambodian journalists await spying verdict

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 Two years since two Cambodian former Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists were arrested on widely criticized espionage charges, their lawyer on Thursday said the pair were still awaiting a verdict.

Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, who worked for the U.S funded news outlet which operates in countries with limited press freedoms, were arrested on Nov. 14, 2017.

Their arrests were part of a wider government crackdown on political opposition, independent media outlets and government critics.

They were charged with supplying a foreign state with information prejudicial to Cambodia’s national defense, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Both have said they filed news reports after RFA closed its Phnom Penh bureau, which the outlet said was due to government pressure.

The men were released on bail after nine months in jail.

Attorney Sam Chamroeun told dpa that his clients were waiting for the Appeal Court to set a trial date after a lower court in October was expected to announce a verdict, but instead ruled to reinvestigate the case.

Cambodia’s courts have long been seen as being under the influence of the ruling party.

The South-East Asian nation was ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in Reporters without Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index, down a place from 2018.

HS/MZA

Edited by Halima Sheji/Maharazu Ahmed

Sheji Halima

Sheji Halima: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.ng. Disclaimer.

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