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Hearing set for RFA reporters

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The Appeal Court is set to hear the case of former Radio Free Asia (RFA) reporters Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin (centre) on June 21. Heng Chivoan

Hearing set for RFA reporters

The Appeal Court is set to hear the case of former Radio Free Asia (RFA) reporters Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, also known as Sochea Meta, on June 21, on a charge of “Provision of Information Undermining National Defence to a Foreign State”.

“We invite Sam Chamroeun, the defence lawyer of Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, to attend a hearing in connection with the charge,” court clerk Say Sok Hoeung said in a letter dated June 16.

Former RFA reporter Sothearin told The Post on Tuesday that the Appeal Court will hear two cases – one of which is their request to stop placing them under court supervision, while the other concerns their request to regain all materials confiscated by the court.

Both Sothearin and Chhin said the requests are made to enable them to find a job to support themselves as well as an opportunity to study abroad.

“I think if the court understands our actual situation, they should drop the supervision. If they want to pursue their investigation, it is up to them and we will continue to cooperate with the court at all time. We will appear whenever they need us to,” Sothearin said.

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Yeang Sothearin speaks to reporters after being released on bail last year. Heng Chivoan

Defence lawyer Chamroeun said he will attend the hearing to seek freedom from court supervision for the duo.

“I will try to help them regain full freedom. I also urge the court to reverse or drop the charge against my clients because they currently face difficulties earning a livelihood,” he said.

Earlier this month, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said Chhin and Sothearin have been deprived of their liberty through court supervision without a trial and urged the government and court to release the pair unconditionally.

The UN working group said the two were detained without a trial for nine months and seven days before being released on bail under court supervision on August 21 last year.

The group said the pair should instead be entitled to compensation and other reparations, and urged the court to revise Article 445 of the Criminal Code concerning the “Provision of Information Undermining National Defence to a Foreign State” so that it complies with Cambodia’s human rights obligations.

Chhin and Sothearin were arrested in November 2017 and were charged under Article 445 of the Criminal Code.

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