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.
Edited by Halima Sheji/Maharazu Ahmed