Geneva (4 September 2017) – I am seriously concerned at the arrest of Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha, which appears to have been carried out with no respect for due process guarantees, including respect for his parliamentary immunity.
He has been accused of treason, which carries a prison term of between 15 to 30 years, based on a video of a speech he made in 2013 and which has been publicly available since then. I am also concerned that numerous public statements by the Prime Minister and high-ranking officials about Sokha’s supposed guilt breach the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial to which he is entitled under Cambodian and international human rights law.
Sokha’s arrest is all the more worrying as it takes place amid other recent measures by the Royal Government of Cambodia. These have led to the closure of a foreign non-governmental organisation and have targeted media companies, including numerous radio stations and one of the main independent English language newspapers, The Cambodia Daily, which has now been forced to cease publication after 24 years.