Cambodian court extends detention of former opposition leader

Kem Sokha, who has been held for a year, will have his pretrial detention extended by another six months

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 11:20pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 August, 2018, 11:20pm

A Cambodian court decided Thursday to extend by another six months the pretrial detention of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who has been charged with treason.

Kem Sokha, former president of the now-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party, was arrested in September last year amid a crackdown on political opponents of Prime Minister Hun Sen and charged with treason for allegedly conspiring with the United States to topple the government. He is being held in a detention centre in the eastern province of Thbong Khmum.

It is the second time for his detention to be extended, following the first in March.

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Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Ky Rithy said the extension is necessary for further investigation and national security.

The court, however, has yet set the date for his trial.

Khem Sokha, who faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment if convicted, has denied the charges against him, calling them politically motivated.

Two months after his arrest, the CRNP was dissolved by the Supreme Court at the request of Hun Sen’s government in a move seen by many as aimed at eliminating any viable opposition ahead of the general election held in July.