PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (AP) – A court in Cambodia yesterday found Kem Sokha, leader of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, guilty of treason and sentenced him to 27 years’ imprisonment to be served under house arrest.
Judge Koy Sao of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said Kem Sokha, backed by foreign powers, had used human rights and politics as a guise to organise people to stage a “colour revolution” aimed at toppling the legal government. The maximum sentence on the charge is 30 years.
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party was dissolved shortly after his 2017 arrest on related charges.
The ruling, four months ahead of a general election, is the latest blow against the opposition, which has faced years of legal harassment from the government of Prime Minister Hun.
Senator Kem Sokha, 69, is the country’s most prominent opposition politician not in exile – others having fled abroad to escape what were generally seen as politically inspired prosecutions.
The court said Kem Sokha is barred from all political activity, including voting, and not allowed to meet with outsiders, Cambodian or foreign, except for family members.
He may leave the house only with the court’s permission.
His lawyer, Ang Udom, told reporters he will file an appeal within one month.