Cambodian police arrested a former opposition party activist on Thursday on charges of insulting the ruling Cambodian People’s Party after the woman, who had fled the country to avoid arrest, was expelled from neighboring Thailand for overstaying her visa, Cambodian media reported today.
Sam Sokha, 38, had posted a video on April 1, 2017, of herself throwing a shoe against a billboard bearing photos of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Assembly President Heng Samrin, saying, “These are the men who are destroying our nation.”
Before being forced home from Thailand, where she had applied for political asylum, she had remained active on her Facebook page, regularly posting criticism of the Cambodian government, sources said.
News of Sam Sokha’s Feb. 8 arrest was reported to the government-linked media outlet Fresh News by a senior police officer at the Ministry of Defense, the paper said, though details regarding where and how she was taken into custody were not immediately available.
Sam Sokha, who was sentenced in absentia to a two-year term by a court in Kompong Speu province for insulting public officials, had been registered with the United Nations as a refugee before being forced home, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement Thursday.
“Forcing refugee Sam Sokha back to Cambodia is an extremely serious and absolutely blatant human rights violation by Thailand’s military dictatorship apparently seeking to buy favors from Hun Sen,” HRW deputy director for Asia Robertson told the Phnom Penh Post via email.
Full story: rfa.org
Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Sovannarith Keo. Written in English by Richard Finney.
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