Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Asean rights group urges release of former Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha




Asean rights group urges release of former Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha

Opposition leader Kem Sokha is escorted by police officials following his midnight arrest in September 2017. AFP
Opposition leader Kem Sokha is escorted by police officials following his midnight arrest in September 2017. AFP

Asean rights group urges release of former Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha

A group of Southeast Asian lawmakers are calling for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha on the cusp of the six-month anniversary of his arrest.

Sokha, former president of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, was arrested on September 4 and charged with “treason” over remarks he made during a 2013 speech in Australia about receiving career advice and assistance about democratic change from the US.

Charles Santiago, spokesman for the Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights, today said Sokha’s continued detention was “an outrageous abuse of power by Cambodia’s ruling party”.

“The charges are so blatantly politically motivated and the judiciary so clearly acting at the behest of the Prime Minister that it’s a wonder the government even bothers going through the motions,” he said.

“These trumped-up charges should never have been brought in the first place. They should be immediately dropped and Kem Sokha unconditionally freed.”

Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs today defended all legal measures taken in cracking down on what they have termed a “colour revolution”, even as the United States cut off aid to the Kingdom this week over its recent actions. Sokha's party was forced to dissolve at the government's request in November.

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,