Cambodia readies treason trials against political dissidents

Cambodia’s government has targeted about 50 people in its most concerted legal offensive against its political opponents since 2017, according to copies of court summonses seen Friday. They all were charged with treason for taking part in nonviolent anti-government activities over the past three years.

One of the best known of the group is Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American lawyer who has long been one of the most outspoken critics of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government. According to a summons she posted Friday on her Facebook page, she is to appear at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Nov. 26 to stand trial for conspiracy to commit treason and incitement to commit a felony. If convicted, she could face up to 12 years in prison.

The others face the same charges and also have court dates in late November. Several are believed to reside outside Cambodia. A court spokesman was not able to confirm the total number on Friday, but Am Sam Ath, who works with the Cambodian human rights group Licadho, said there were a total of 56 defendants on two lists of summoned people.

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