Instead of Verdict, Cambodian Judge Orders New Investigation of Reporters' Spy Case


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

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Judge Im Vannak ordered the new investigation on the day he was scheduled to deliver a verdict in the case against the two reporters, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin.

The 2-year-old 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 a general election last year after the main opposition party leader was arrested on treason charges and his party banned.

The two former reporters for Washington-based RFA were arrested in November 2017 and charged with espionage and producing pornography. They denied the charges.

Hun Sen has accused the United States of trying to end his rule.

RFA earlier in 2017 shut down its Phnom Penh office complaining of a "relentless crackdown on independent voices."