This file photo taken on June 04, 2017 shows Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), casting his ballot at a polling station in Phnom Penh./AFP
This file photo taken on June 04, 2017 shows Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), casting his ballot at a polling station in Phnom Penh./AFP

Cambodia opposition leader released from jail: lawyer

Breaking News September 10, 2018 07:01

By Agence France-Presse
Phnom Penh

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Cambodia's opposition leader Kem Sokha was released from jail early Monday a year after he was detained on treason charges, his lawyer said, as the country's strongman ruler loosens his grip on opponents after sweeping one-sided elections.



"Kem Sokha returned home at 3:30am," his lawyer Chan Chen told AFP, after his release from a remote border prison.

A court official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Kem Sokha was freed on bail although his lawyer could not immediately confirm the conditions of his release.

He was arrested on September 3, 2017, and accused of treason as Cambodia's premier Hun Sen deepened his pre-election crackdown on political rivals.

The charges against Kem Sokha were widely seen as politically motivated and just two months later his Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party -- the only serious rival to Hun Sen - was disbanded by a court.

That left the ruling party to win all 125 parliamentary seats in July's election, turning the country into a one-party state and extending Hun Sen's 33-year stay in office.

Since the polls Hun Sen has begun to release critics from jail, a common relaxation of his grip on power that has followed election wins throughout his time in office.

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