PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The opposition leader is in jail charged with treason, senior party officials have fled abroad and fear is spreading through Cambodia’s civil society as a government crackdown intensifies ahead of national elections next year.
The arrest of the president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, in a raid of his home just after midnight on Sept. 2 sent shock waves through a country already on edge after attacks on nongovernmental organizations and the media.
In recent weeks, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America have been forced off the airwaves, an independent newspaper, the Cambodia Daily, was shuttered amid government pressure, and the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute was expelled from the country.
Sokha has been accused of conspiring with the United States to overthrow Cambodia’s authoritarian government. He was charged with treason Tuesday and, if convicted, faces up to 30 years in prison while the opposition CNRP could be dissolved under a controversial law passed in February that bans party leaders with criminal convictions.
Read more: Washington Post