Former Australian school teacher faces criminal defamation charges over election comments

Cambodia’s main opposition party has called for criminal defamation charges to be dropped against its deputy president, a former Adelaide school teacher, who has declared he will “fight until the end and not flee” a political crackdown waged by long-time leader Hun Sen.

Son Chhay, a dual Cambodian and Australian citizen, returned to Phnom Penh from his home in Adelaide in March to join the Candlelight Party, a successor to the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party, whose dissolution in 2017 effectively rendered the south-east Asian nation a one-party state.

While many high-ranking Cambodian opposition figures have since been jailed, forced into exile or remain on trial on what have been slammed as politically motivated charges the high-profile Chhay – who was also a top player in the CNRP – has returned to the electoral stage after being permitted to re-enter politics.

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