Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court decision to deny bail for two former Radio Free Asia (RFA) journalists accused of espionage, local media reported on Wednesday.
Oun Chhin and Yeang Sothearin were arrested in November for allegedly trying to set up a karaoke production studio in a Phnom Penh guesthouse but were later charged with espionage.
If convicted, they could face between seven to 15 years in prison.
According to the Ministry of Interior, the journalists are being investigated for trying to set up an RFA studio the U.S.-funded radio station closed its in-country office in September following a media clampdown.
Keo Vanny, the lawyer representing the duo, said his clients were innocent and maintained his clients’ request for bail was denied due to the ongoing investigation.
“I think the decision is not fair for my clients because they have never committed a crime, and if they are released on bail, none of the evidence is going to be damaged,’’ he told the Phnom Penh Post.
The Court of Appeal spokesperson could not be reached for comment.