Silenced Kem Sokha Remains Symbol of Democracy

When I resigned from the leadership of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in February 2017, to hand over to deputy leader Kem Sokha, I did not know that I was handing him a poisoned chalice.

He was arrested at his house later that year on Sept. 3 and spent a year in prison under hard conditions. Stripped of his political rights, he was later put under house arrest for more than a year before being allowed a kind of semi-freedom which continues to this day. He is still awaiting a verdict in his case for “sedition” and “treason”.

To try and avoid the dissolution of the CNRP, I had to give up the leadership of the party as I knew that Prime Minister Hun Sen was going to amend the electoral law to directly and personally target me. This amendment was voted through by a rump national assembly on February 20, shortly after my resignation on February 11. The amendment forbade anyone who had been convicted by the country’s courts from leading a political party, on pain of the dissolution of this party. It was targeted at me as a “convict” living outside Cambodia whom the authorities were unable to arrest.

In full:

Related Stories

Latest News