Cambodia to jail ex-opposition leader Kem Sokha for 27 yrs

Former President of Cambodia National Rescue Party, Kem Sokha, greets from his car in front of his house in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Friday, March 3, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

PHNOM PENH – A Cambodian court on Friday convicted former opposition leader Kem Sokha of treason and sentenced him to 27 years in prison.

Kem Sokha, former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), who has been released on bail since November 2019, appeared in the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to hear his verdict.

The treason verdict banned former opposition leader Kem Sokha from engaging in politics for life and said he would serve out his sentence in home detention

Security forces had been deployed around the court to prevent any disruption to the court proceeding, as a handful of Sokha's supporters rallied outside the court.

ALSO READ: Cambodia begins treason trial of opp leader as criticism mounts

"The Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Kem Sokha guilty of treason and decided to sentence him to 27 years in prison," said the verdict pronounced by the Court's presiding judge Koy Sao.

The verdict also banned the former opposition leader from engaging in politics for life and said he would serve out his sentence in home detention.

The 69-year-old former opposition leader was arrested on Sept 3, 2017 for "conspiring with a foreign power" in an attempt to overthrow the Cambodian government.

READ MORE: Cambodia's ex-opposition leader freed from house arrest

He was freed from house detention in November 2019, but was barred from leaving the country or taking part in political activities.

Under Cambodia's law, the convict has a month to appeal against the guilty verdict.