PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – A Cambodian labor activist faces deportation from Thailand back to Cambodia over his role in making a documentary about sex trafficking that angered the Cambodian government, which dismissed it as fake, his wife said on Friday.
The ruling party of Cambodia’s prime minister, Hun Sen, has waged a crackdown against what it says are critics of the government, including human rights advocates and opposition politicians.
Rath Rott Mony, 47, a prominent government critic, 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 in October.
His wife, Long Kimheang, told Reuters from Bangkok she was afraid Thai police would send him back to Cambodia.
“Police arrested my husband and they told me that Cambodian police had sent them a document, saying he produced a false story,” Long Kimheang said.
“I am worried when they deport my husband, he will be put in prison.”
Thai immigration police officials were not immediately available for comment.
The documentary, 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 in making the report.
Authorities later said the mother and daughter were paid to lie in the documentary, according to Cambodian police.
Cambodian police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed they had asked that Rath Rott Mony, president of the Cambodian Construction Workers Trade Union Federation (CCTUF), be deported if found in Thailand.
“The documentary is a made-up story that destroys Cambodia’s culture and reputation,” he said.
Russia Today did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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