Cambodia opposition leader jailed 27 years for treason

PHNOM PENH - Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was on Saturday sentenced to 27 years in jail for treason, a verdict that disqualified him for elections this year and was immediately denounced by international observers such as the United Nations and the United States. Kem Sokha was accused of hatching a secret plan in collusion with foreign entities to topple the government of longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen, upon his arrest in 2017. The 69-year-old co-founder of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) has long been a prominent adversary of Hun Sen, who critics say has wound back democratic freedoms and used the courts to stifle opposition. Kem Sokha has repeatedly denied the charges against him, which rights groups say were designed to bar him from politics ahead of July’s elections. Immediately after the verdict at the Phnom Penh court, he was placed under house arrest and banned from meeting with foreigners or anyone who is not a family member without permission of the court.

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