Thailand Wednesday deported the president of a construction workers union who helped produce a documentary about sex trafficking back to Cambodia.
Rath Rott Mony will likely face political persecution amid a wider crackdown on labor activists by Prime Minister Hun Sen, his wife said Tuesday.
She told RFA’s Khmer Service Wednesday that a U.N. official based in Bangkok confirmed to her that the deportation occurred and he was handed over to Cambodian authorities, but his current whereabouts are not known.
She said there has been no word from Cambodian officials on the matter.
“There is no information about my husband’s whereabouts or his safety,” she said. “Hiding his whereabouts is a threat,” she added.
“The authorities are pressuring him to say what they want. People must monitor the situation to find where they’re hiding him,” she said.
RFA was unable to reach the spokesman for Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, Khieu Sopheak, for comments on Wednesday, but Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng told local reporters that authorities asked Thailand to extradite the activist to Cambodia for questioning. He said that there are no charges yet.
Cambodian authorities say Mony abetted the production of fake news after he helped Russia Today (RT) film a documentary released in October called “My Mother Sold Me,” which tells the stories of impoverished families in Cambodia who hawked the virginity of their daughters, who were later forced into prostitution.
On Monday, Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Interior Ministry, said the union leader had “committed a crime” and defamed his country.
“Action should be taken against him,” he said, adding that Rath Rott Mony “will not be free.”
Mony was detained in Bangkok on Dec. 7 while attempting to seek asylum at a visa office for the Netherlands by Thai police acting on a formal request by Cambodia’s government.
Reported by RFA's Khmer Service. Translated by RFA's Khmer Service. Written in English by Eugene Whong.