Cambodia's Supreme Court rejects bail for detained opposition leader

Cambodia's Supreme Court rejects bail for detained opposition leader

Cambodia's opposition leader and President of the CNRP Kem Sokha talks during an interview wit
Cambodia's opposition leader and President of the National Rescue Party (CNRP) Kem Sokha talks during an interview with Reuters in Prey Veng province, Cambodia on May 28, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Samrang Pring/Files)

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia's Supreme Court on Monday (May 7) rejected a plea for bail by detained opposition leader Kem Sokha, following his arrest last year on charges of seeking to overthrow the government.

Kem Sokha, head of the now dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was arrested on Sep 3 amid a crackdown on critics of authoritarian Prime Minister Hun Sen who has ruled the Southeast Asian country for more than 30 years.

Kem Sokha, who has denied the accusations against him, has been in pre-trial detention since September.

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a request from his lawyer that he be granted bail. An Appeal Court rejected bail in February.

"The Supreme Court upheld the Appeal Court's decision", said lawyer Pheng Heng.

"I am not satisfied with the court decision," he said, adding that Kem Sokha was not in good health when lawyers last visited him on Apr 30.

Rights groups have condemned the crackdown by Hun Sen's government against opposition politicians, independent media and some non-governmental groups.

The crackdown comes ahead of a Jul 29 general election that Hun Sen is widely expected to win now that the CNRP has been dissolved and more than 100 of its lawmakers banned from politics.

Kem Sokha was accused of plotting to overthrow the government with U.S. help, an accusation both the United States and Kem Sokha have rejected.

No date has been set for his trial. 

Source: Reuters

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