Cambodia king pardons jailed opposition lawmaker

An outspoken Cambodian opposition lawmaker was pardoned by royal decree and released on Saturday (Aug 25), the first member of a now-dissolved political party to be freed a month after strongman premier Hun Sen won a virtually uncontested election.

The lead-up to the Jul 29 poll – which Western democracies have slammed – was marked by a clampdown on activists, journalists and the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), paving a clear path for Hun Sen to extend his 33-year rule of Cambodia by another five years.

Released on Saturday was Um Sam An, a dual Cambodian-US national sentenced to two and a half years in prison in late 2016 over his criticism of Hun Sen’s government for using contested maps as a guideline to demarcating the border with Vietnam.

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