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Thailand set to return dissident to Cambodia

Rath Rott Mony upset Cambodian govt by helping foreigners make documentary on child sex trafficking

Thailand set to return dissident to Cambodia

A file image of Cambodian sex workers sitting on the sidewalk along a street in Phnom Penh. Cambodian authorities want Thailand to send back a dissident who helped make a documentary about poor girls being sold into sex work. (Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP)

Published: December 11, 2018 08:52 AM GMT

A Cambodian dissident is at risk of detention and torture if the Thai authorities return him to Cambodia warns an international rights group.

There are strong reasons to believe that dissident Rath Rott Mony would face politically motivated prosecution, wrongful detention, and ill-treatment in Cambodia, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Dec. 11.  

"Thailand should not do Cambodia's bidding by forcibly returning an outspoken activist who exposed police failures to stop abuses and child sex trafficking," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "Thai authorities should immediately release Rath Rott Mony and allow him to seek protection from the United Nations refugee agency."

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Thai authorities arrested Mony, 47, president of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF), in Bangkok on Dec. 7 based on a formal request by the Cambodian government.

Cambodian police are believed to be unhappy about his role in the production of the RT documentary "My Mother Sold Me," which included accounts of poor girls sold into sex work.

Cambodian authorities accused the documentary makers of paying the featured girls and their mothers to lie on camera to harm Cambodia's reputation.

Thai authorities have frequently collaborated with the Cambodian government to harass, arrest, and forcibly return exiled dissidents — including opposition politicians, human rights activists, and journalists — who fled to Thailand to escape persecution by the Cambodian government under Prime Minister Hun Sen.

It is critically important for Thai authorities not to put Mony into harm's way in violation of international law.

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