Sentencing of Cambodian Opposition Activist Raises Fears of New Round of Jailings

The jailing of a former provincial official of the banned Cambodian National Rescue Party for five years on treason charges for supporting an abortive 2019 plan by CNRP leader Sam Rainsy to return to the country has raised fears that more oppositions will suffer the same fate.

CNRP activist and former Kampot province commune councilor Pen Mom was among more than 100 party members arrested for mobilizing to welcome acting CNRP chief Sam Rainsy’s planned return to Cambodia from self-imposed exile in Paris last November. The return was thwarted when Cambodian authorities barred him from entry.

Pen Mom was arrested in October and charged by the investigating judge of the Kampot provincial with plotting a coup under article 453 of Cambodia’s penal code and ordered to serve pre-trial detention at the provincial prison. She was released on bail a month later when Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the release of 72 political prisoners.

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