Cambodian PM says U.S. behind opposition leader Sokha in anti-gov’t plot

PHNOM PENH, Sept. 4– Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun
Sen on Sunday accused the United States of staying behind an
anti-government plot made by Cambodian main opposition leader Kem Sokha,
government-aligned media Fresh News reported.

Sokha, president of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was caught
red-handed early Sunday at his home in Phnom Penh and sent to Trapaing
Thlong Prison in Tboung Khmum province, about 150 km east of Phnom Penh.
“It is the United States. The act of treason by conspiring with foreign
country, betraying his own nation, requires immediate arrest,” Fresh News
quoted the prime minister as saying to more than 4,000 garment workers
during a get-together in Phnom Penh. Hun Sen said Sokha’s arrest would not
affect the national election, which is scheduled on July 29, 2018, and
called on the people to keep calm and let the court proceed with the case.

The arrest was made just hours after an old video clip broadcast by
Australia-based CBN (Cambodian Broadcasting Network) was posted on Facebook
showing Kem Sokha speaking with his supporters in Australia on Dec. 8,
2013. Sokha told his supporters that he followed the order of the U.S. to
prepare an anti-Cambodian government plot, taking the model of the strategy
that had been used to topple the governments of Yugoslavia and Serbia. The
government said the video clip and other evidence collected by authorities
clearly indicated the conspiracy between Sokha and his accomplices with a
foreign power, which harms Cambodia. Sokha is facing the charges of
treason and espionage under the article 443 of the kingdom’s Criminal Code,
a government statement said. In its statement on Sunday, the CNRP
vehemently condemned Sokha’s arrest, saying that it “is politically
motivated and violates law and constitution” because Sokha is a lawmaker
who has parliamentary immunity. Sokha, 64, became the president of the CNRP
in March 2017, replacing his long-serving predecessor, Sam Rainsy, who
resigned in February. Sam Rainsy, 68, has been living in self-exile in
France since November 2015 to avoid at least eight-year-prison sentence for
defamation and incitement cases. – XINHUA