Cambodia today recommenced the treason trial of Kem Sokha, the leader of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), after a nearly two year hiatus. Sokha was arrested in September 2017 for allegedly colluding with foreign governments to overthrow the administration led by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), the prelude to the dissolution of the CNRP two months later.
“I hope…the court will decide to drop the charges against me so that we can reach national reconciliation and national unity to develop our country,” Kem Sokha told reporters at his home this morning, according to Reuters.
Sokha’s arrest and the banning of the CNRP, which performed surprisingly well at elections in 2013, marked Cambodia’s definitive turn toward open one-party rule, and took place amid a wider offensive against civil society organizations and the independent press. With most of the CNRP’s leading officials either in custody or exile, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) was free to win every seat in parliament at elections in July 2018.