Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha arrested over alleged plot
Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was arrested at his home in the capital Phnom Penh early on Sunday and the government of veteran Prime Minister Hun Sen said he was accused of treason, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The arrest marks a new escalation in a campaign against critics, independent media and any potential threats to Hun Sen’s hold on power ahead of an election next year at which Kem Sokha has been expected to be his main challenger.
The government said in a statement that it had a video clip and other evidence pointing to “secret plans of conspiracy between Kem Sokha, others and foreigners to harm the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
“The above act of this secret conspiracy is treason,” the statement said.
Hun Sen, 65, has ruled the Southeast Asian country for more than three decades. The former Khmer Rouge cadre has become one of China’s closest regional allies and has been making increasingly strident verbal attacks on the United States.
Kem Sokha, 64, has led the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) since his predecessor resigned in February, saying he feared a government plan to shut it down.
Pictures in Cambodian media showed him being led away with his hands behind his back.
Kem Sokha’s daughter, Monovithya Kem, who is also an official in the party, said on Twitter that her father had been taken away handcuffed after a raid by between 100 and 200 police, who had arrived without an arrest warrant.
“Kem Sokha whereabouts is still unknown,” she said on Twitter, after earlier saying he had been taken to city hall.
Kem Sokha made no immediate comment and it was not clear if he had legal representation at this stage.
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