Cambodian Court Sentences Opposition Leader to Life Imprisonment

Sam Rainsy is accused of plotting to cede four Cambodian provinces to the country’s indigenous peoples.

A court in Cambodia yesterday sentenced the exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy to life in prison for attempting to cede four Cambodian provinces to a foreign state, adding to the long list of ginned-up criminal charges that have effectively sidelined him from the country’s political life.

The conviction and sentence, which also includes a ban from participation in politics, relates to a meeting that Sam Rainsy had nine years ago in which he promised to uphold the rights of Cambodia’s indigenous people.

In yesterday’s hearing, judges at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court accepted prosecutors’ argument that the exiled opposition figure had effectively agreed to cede four provinces in northeastern Cambodia – Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie – to indigenous minority groups.

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