Cambodia Opposition Leader Sentenced to 27 Years House Arrest

    Cambodia Opposition Leader Sentenced to 27 Years House Arrest
    Last updated Mar 03, 2023
    Image credit: Al Jazeera


    • On Friday, Kem Sokha, formerly Cambodia's most prominent opposition leader of the now-dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), was sentenced to 27 years under house arrest after being convicted of treason.[1]
    • The sentence brings an end to a three-year trial in which a Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge ruled that both Sokha's election campaigns and work in civil society were intended to create a "colour revolution."[2]
    • Sokha, who was initially arrested in 2017 on charges of conspiracy with the US to overthrow Hun Sen — Cambodia's ruler for nearly four decades — will only be allowed to meet family members as part of his house arrest. He has also been barred from voting or running for political office.[3]
    • Following his arrest, the CNRP was banned ahead of the 2018 election, which was swept by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP). Sokha's lawyer, Ang Udom, has stated that he will appeal the verdict.[4]
    • The charges of treason have been denied by Sokha and internationally criticized, with US ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy saying the accusations are "fabricated conspiracy theories."[5]


    Narrative A

    The decision by the Cambodian justice system once again shows a jaw-dropping lack of justice based on politically motivated charges. Sokha has endured a physically and psychologically taxing ordeal that will only continue while under house arrest. The Cambodian government must drop the fabricated charges and release him immediately.

    Narrative B

    While Cambodia is a supporter of the defense and maintenance of human rights, Sokha's attempts to derail the legitimate sovereignty of the nation's leadership via foreign influence cannot be tolerated. House arrest is a perfectly justified punishment as a means of defending the peace and prosperity of the nation.

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