December 12, 2018 / 1:26 PM / 6 months ago

Thailand sends home Cambodian critic wanted over sex-trafficking film

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Thailand sent back to Cambodia on Wednesday a labor activist wanted by authorities at home over his role in making a documentary about sex-trafficking that the government said contained fake news, police said.

Cambodia’s ruling party of Prime Minister Hun Sen has launched a crackdown on those it sees as critics, including human rights advocates and opposition politicians.

Rath Rott Mony, 47, was arrested in Bangkok on Friday as he attempted to travel to the Netherlands with his family after helping produce the documentary for the Russia Today channel that was broadcast in October.

Cambodian police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun said that Rath Rott Mony, president of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF), was deported from Thailand at Cambodia’s request.

“When the procedure with the police is finished, we will send him to court,” Chhay Kim Khoeun told Reuters.

“It will be up to the court to determine what the charge is.”

Thai immigration officials were not immediately available for comment.

Rath Rott Mony’s wife, who had earlier expressed fears her husband would be sent to prison if sent back to Cambodia, said a U.N. human rights worker had informed her about his deportation.

“I hope the court will investigate my husband’s case fairly,” his wife, Long Kimheang, told Reuters.

The documentary he worked on, titled “My Mother Sold Me”, included an account of a poor Cambodian girl who was sold into sex work, prompting authorities to question those involved.

Authorities later said the girl and her mother were paid $200 to lie in the documentary, which had damaged the country’s reputation.

Russia Today said in a statement on Friday it never pays participants or interview subjects for a report.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Robert Birsel

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