Cambodia begins treason trial of opposition leader as criticism mounts

A Cambodian court convened on Wednesday (Jan 15) to begin the trial of opposition party leader Kem Sokha on charges of treason in a case that has drawn condemnation from rights groups as a move by longtime leader Hun Sen to crush political rivals.

Diplomats packed the Phnom Penh Municipal Court as the defendant arrived, and only a few journalists were allowed in to view the proceedings.

It could take up to three months to deliver a verdict, defence lawyers said on Tuesday, meaning the case could still be ongoing by the time the European Union (EU) makes a decision on its trade policy next month on whether to cut Cambodia’s preferential trade status over its human rights record.

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