Cambodia accused of using Covid to edge towards ‘totalitarian dictatorship’

New law means people could face 20 years in prison for lockdown breaches, as campaigners warn of ‘human rights disaster’.

Cambodians who break Covid rules could face 20 years in prison under a new law that human rights groups say takes the country “a step towards a totalitarian dictatorship”.

Prime minister Hun Sen warned that Cambodia was “on the brink of death” as a two-week lockdown was imposed in Phnom Penh on Thursday to try to control the spread of the virus.

The law means those convicted could face fines of up to $5,000 (£3,627) as well as prison terms, and grants the government the power to ban or restrict any gathering or demonstration indefinitely.

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