Cambodian judge orders reinvestigation of spying case against reporters

A Cambodian judge on Thursday ordered a reinvestigation of the espionage case against two former Radio Free Asia journalists, saying he could not rule on their guilt or innocence without enough evidence.

The case has added to concerns about a crackdown on criticism and dissent by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who extended his rule of more than three decades in an election last year after the main opposition party leader was arrested on treason charges here and his party banned.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Im Vannak had been scheduled to deliver a verdict in the two-year-old case against the reporters, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, but instead he ordered a fresh investigation into hard disks seized when they were arrested in 2017.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) and rights groups said the case should be dropped.

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Prak Chan Thul