The United States is deeply troubled by the conviction and 27-year sentence of respected Cambodian political leader Kem Sokha. The multi-year process to silence him, based on a politically-motivated charge, is unjust and profoundly diminishes the Kingdom of Cambodia’s standing in the international community. The United States has consistently called on the Cambodian government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Kem Sokha and all people of Cambodia.
Kem Sokha’s conviction is part of a larger pattern of threats, harassment, and other unacceptable actions by Cambodian authorities to target political opposition leaders, media, and civil society. These actions impede any chance for a free, transparent, and fair electoral process.
Prosecuting and convicting individuals like Kem Sokha and many other political figures for exercising their freedoms of expression and association undermines Cambodia’s constitution, international obligations, and past progress to develop as a peaceful, pluralist, and inclusive society.
We urge Cambodian authorities to ensure their citizens can freely exercise their human rights, including freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression, and are encouraged and able to participate in building a truly democratic system.