Cambodia locks up critics over ‘fake’ coronavirus news: rights group

Human Rights Watch says Hun Sen using outbreak to arrest opponents.

Cambodia’s government is using the novel coronavirus outbreak to lock up political opponents and detain people who question its handling of the pandemic, a rights group warned Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch said at least 17 people have been arrested since late January for comments about COVID-19 that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s administration deemed to be “fake news.” They include four members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, the main political opposition group that was dissolved in 2018.

Twelve people have been released after signing public apologies and pledging to not spread “fake news.” Five, including the four opposition figures, remain in custody. They face charges including incitement, conspiracy, and spreading false information.

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