Cambodian-American lawyer Theary Seng sentenced to six years in prison

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At least 51 people, including Cambodian-American activist Theary Seng, have been found guilty of ” conspiracy ” and D'” incitement to disturb public order by the Phnom Penh municipal court for expressing their support for the former main opposition party, despite its very controversial dissolution in 2017. Several human rights organizations criticize the instrumentalization of Cambodian justice.

She had previously appeared in a prisoner’s costume, but on this day of the verdict, Theary Seng was disguised as a chained statue of liberty in front of the court. ” This judicial system is used as a political tool to repress and silence the people “, she explains. ” Ultimately, we know this is political theater. The script has already been written by the regime and they cannot deviate from their script. But I am (a person) free. »

The American-Cambodian lawyer, accused of having supported an abortive return of the political opponent Sam Rainsy, has always strongly criticized the charges against her. A total of four lawsuits have been filed against supporters, members and leaders of the political opposition, which was controversially dissolved in 2017. While two of them ended with numerous prison sentences, Theary Seng already expected to be found guilty.

I have been preparing to be imprisoned since I discovered these absurd charges against me. That’s why I stand outside (in front of the yard). If they have to arrest me, let them show some courage and do it in public.

A few minutes later, police officers seized Theary Seng. She has just been found guilty of conspiracy like fifty defendants. Theary Seng receives a six-year prison sentence.

Theary Seng is escorted by Cambodian police after his sentencing by a court in Phnom Penh on June 14, 2022.
Theary Seng is escorted by Cambodian police after his sentencing by a court in Phnom Penh on June 14, 2022. AP – Heng Sinith

Total disregard for democratic rights »

There’s no justice in this court begin chanting a dozen supporters and relatives of other people imprisoned for the same charges. Human rights organizations regularly criticize the reduction of fundamental freedoms in Cambodia.

For Phil Robertson, Asia director of Human Rights Watch: “ By creating a political dynamic based on intimidation and the persecution of critical voices against the government, Prime Minister Hun Sen demonstrates his total disregard for democratic rights “.

Watch our exclusive interview: Cambodia: opponent Sam Rainsy, sentenced to 25 years in prison, speaks

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