Bangkok, Mar 3 (EFE).- Cambodia’s opposition leader Kem Sokha was sentenced on Friday to 27 years in prison after being found guilty of treason, his family announced.
“KemSokha has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for treason and banned from politics for life. He has now being taken to his residence and is under court supervision for now,” his daughter, Monovithya Kem, said on Twitter.
“He is also banned from all forms of communication with anyone except family members,” she added.
The 69-year-old Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) co-founder was arrested in 2017 and is accused of conspiring with the United States to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
Sokha’s arrest was carried out at the request of Hun Sen, in power since 1985, amid a widespread crackdown on the opposition, non-governmental organizations and independent media months before the 2018 general elections were held.
The opposition leader’s arrest followed the release of a video in 2013 in which he appeared to be boasting to supporters of having the necessary advice from US pro-democracy organizations to win the elections.
Sokha’s arrest was followed by a legal attack on his party, which was eventually banned towards the end of 2017, resulting in about 100 of its leaders fleeing the country, the closure of several independent media and the expulsion of some nonprofits.
Without the participation of the CNRP, which obtained almost half of the votes in the 2013 elections, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party won the July 2018 elections, sweeping all 125 seats in the National Assembly.
Friday’s sentence against the opposition leader, whose trial began in January 2020 and was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, comes as Cambodia is gearing up for general elections, scheduled to be held July 23 and in which Hun Sen will be seeking another term. EFE