Cambodia opposition leader jailed 27 years for treason: court

Cambodia opposition leader jailed 27 years for treason: court

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA — A Cambodian court on Friday sentenced top opposition leader Kem Sokha to 27 years in jail for treason, in a case rights groups say is politically motivated.

“Kem Sokha… is sentenced to 27 years in prison on the charge of collusion with foreigners committed in Cambodia and other places,” Judge Koy Sao said at the court in Phnom Penh.

The 69-year-old was the joint founder of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party and has long been a foe of Hun Sen — Asia’s longest-serving leader.

After the verdict, Kem Sokha was immediately taken from the courtroom to his home, where he will be placed under house arrest and banned from meeting anyone apart from family members.

The court also stripped him of his right to vote and barred him from running for political office.

Arrested in 2017 in a midnight swoop involving hundreds of security forces, Kem Sokha was accused of hatching a “secret plan” in collusion with foreign entities to topple the government of longtime ruler Hun Sen.

He has repeatedly denied the charges against him.

Critics say Hun Sen has wound back democratic freedoms and used the courts to stifle opponents, jailing scores of opposition activists and human rights.


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