Is Kem Sokha sentence a step toward tyranny?

A Cambodian court has convicted the leader of the country's only viable opposition party of treason. The move comes just four months before a general election and a long-planned dynastic handover of power.

Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was sentenced to 27 years of house arrest by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday on charges of conspiring with foreign powers to incite a “color revolution” in the country.

The 69-year-old was arrested for alleged treason in September 2017, just months before his CNRP, the country’s only viable opposition party, was forcibly dissolved by the authorities on the accusations of plotting a US-backed coup.

During the three-year trial, prosecutors appeared to rely primarily on a short two-minute extract of a speech Kem gave in Australia in 2013 in which he thanked the US for supporting him since the 1990s.

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