Find the latest breaking news and information on the top stories, science, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

Cambodia opposition leader Kem Sokha sentenced to 27 years


Former leader of the now banned Cambodian National Salvation Party was arrested in 2017 and charged with treason.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha has been sentenced to 27 years under house arrest after being found guilty of treason in a three-year trial framed by COVID-19 and allowed delays for government lawyers to find new evidence of the alleged crimes of the politician.

The court judge of Phnom Penh Municipal Court told the former president of the Cambodian National Salvation Party (CNRP) that he would be indefinitely banned from politics and voting in elections.

Kem Sokha was arrested without a search warrant in September 2017 during a night raid on his home. The CNRP was later dissolved and the government under longtime ruler and Prime Minister Hun Sen made it a crime to associate with its name or portray the images of its leaders.

Kem Sokha was charged with “conspiracy with a foreign power” under Section 443 of the Cambodian Penal Code and his trial has been condemned by the United States as politically motivated.

Initially, Kem Sokha was held in a remote provincial jail and had his bail denied several times before he was released on parole. Kem Sokha was not allowed to leave the country or engage in political activities.

The trial began in January 2020 and Sokha was questioned about his involvement in politics from 1993, during his time as head of a human rights NGO, and then about his involvement with Sam Rainsy, another opposition leader living in exile in Paris, that their political factions to form the CNRP in 2012.

The crackdown on the CNRP came ahead of the 2018 national elections after its strong performance in local polls raised expectations that it would pose a serious challenge to Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party.