More activists, including one dressed as the Statue of Liberty, have been jailed in Cambodia for their opposition to the ruling party.
60 defendants currently face prosecution over their connection to Sam Rainsy. Rainsy is a Cambodian activist and current leader of the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). He is currently living in exile in Paris.
The CNRP is seen as one of the main opposition parties to current Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is the longest serving PM in Cambodian history and has been in office since the 1980s.
The CNRP was dissolved in 2019 when the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) began stiffer crackdowns on the opposition.
One of the 60 being charged in these cases is Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American, was sentenced to 6 years in prison on the sham charge of treason. She is a lawyer and activist and the dressed up as the Statue of Liberty for her trial. Seng has reportedly worn such costumes as a form of protest in the past.
Some of the other people being threatened with jail time have thankfully went into hiding and are still on the lam.
The arrests are nothing new, Sen and the CPP have executed those who have opposed them in the past. Sen and his party have also not been shy about openly threatening to kill others that seek to reform Cambodia, including Rainsy.
Though such arrests are nothing new to Cambodia, they are something that the international community must pay attention to and fight against with all its might. The world must not sit by while authoritarians disregard human rights and brutalize their populations.