The Supreme Court on Monday postponed its ruling on whether to grant bail to Rath Rott Mony, who was arrested in connection to producing the documentary My Mother Sold Me for Moscow-run RT, until next Monday.
The 27-minute-long documentary depicted a Cambodian mother who allegedly trafficked her teenage daughter into the sex trade, eventually brokering a deal to sell her virginity for $500 to an older man.
The Criminal Code prescribes a prison sentence of seven to 15 years for trafficking a minor.
During his trial in January, the mother claimed in court that Rott Mony had told her what to say, offered to pay her to cooperate and ultimately gave her $200 to go along with the plan.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court in January sentenced Rott Mony to two years in prison and ordered him to pay the two plaintiffs 35 million riel ($8,750) each in financial compensation.
Rott Mony, RT and those connected with the filming maintain that their report was accurate and no one had been coached during filming. They said a token sum was given to the family due to their poverty.
At his 20-minute bail hearing on Monday, Rott Mony said: “I request bail. I intend to work in business and support my son. Furthermore, I promise not to run away and I will appear every time the court needs me.”
His defence lawyer Sam Titseyha told the court on Monday: “During my client’s detention he has not caused disputes with fellow inmates and he promises not to escape. Please kindly grant him bail.”
Supreme Court prosecutor Nao Monychort argued that since Rott Mony’s verdict was handed down by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, his request to the Supreme Court was invalid.
“The request for bail of the accused is not effective. So, trial chamber, please deliberate it,” he said.
Rott Mony was arrested after he fled to Thailand in an attempt to secure asylum. Thai authorities deported him to the Kingdom on December 7, 2018, so that he could face the charges levied against him.