PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — The espionage trial of two Cambodian journalists who formerly worked for a U.S. government-funded radio station has begun, more than 20 months after their arrests.
Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin appeared Friday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to defend themselves against the charge that they had undermined Cambodia’s national security by supplying information to a foreign state, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Rights groups have characterized their case as a flagrant attack on press freedom.
The pair were arrested in November 2017 during a crackdown on the media and political opponents of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government, ahead of the July 2018 election. They had already left their jobs after Radio Free Asia closed its Phnom Penh bureau in September 2017, citing government intimidation.