Kem Sokha, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) [party website] was charged Tuesday with treason after his arrest on Sunday. The arrest of Sokha was first announced [Tweet] by his daughter on social media. Sokha and others were arrested and charged  with committing acts of treason by colluding with foreign agencies [Phnom Penh Post report]. At issue is the international support Sokha receives ahead of next year’s election, which resulted in a televised broadcast in Australia. Sokha not only heads the opposition party but also is associated with a local newspaper that was temporarily shutdown as a result of the raid. The International community has condemned the arrest as interference in democratic elections.
The arrest comes on the heels of the Cambodian government cracking down on political opposition within the country. Cambodia’s National Assembly in July passed a bill that prohibits political parties from being affiliated with convicted criminals. The US Department of State issued a press release [text] in May expressing concern over the prolonged pretrial detention of five Cambodian activist. A law passed in February by Cambodia’s parliament gives the Supreme Court the power to dissolve any political parties it finds unconstitutional.
As carried in JURIST on 6.9.17