Gov’t to claim extensive new powers under emergency laws

People who violate Cambodia’s extensive new state of emergency powers set to fast-tracked into law from Friday face up to 10 years in prison, according to a leaked draft of the pending legislation championed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The law includes 11 articles divided into five chapters and gives the government near limitless powers to repress public gatherings and free speech during times of threats to national security and public order — or in times of health crises — and gives authorities wide powers to arrest people as they deem necessary.

The law says that during times of grave danger, the king can place the country in a state of emergency as long as there is agreement from the prime minister and the presidents of the National Assembly and Senate. It says such scenarios may include dangers such as threats of war or invasion, public health emergencies including the rapid spread of infectious diseases, impending chaos that threatens public order, or any other serious disaster that threatens to cause danger.

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