Cambodia's 'Descent Into Dictatorship.' Prominent Independent Paper Forced to Close

Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Kem Sokha casts his vote during June elections

While speaking to a group of garment workers on Sunday, Hun Sen, head of the Cambodian People's Party and prime minister since 1985, claimed Sokha had confessed to plotting regime change with the United States.

He urged other nations to put pressure on Mr. Hun Sen. A former Khmer Rouge cadre, he has become one of China's closest regional allies and has been making increasingly strident criticisms of the US.

Cambodia's Fresh News cited a statement of the Cambodian Government as saying the CNRP leader was seized at his home at 00:35 am on September 3 by the police.

Pictures in Cambodian media showed him being led away with his hands behind his back.

Sokha reportedly says in the purported video that "he was trained and received funding from a powerful foreign country to topple the government".

"The Royal Government would like to inform the public that according to a video clip broadcasted by the Cambodian Broadcasting Network, based in Australia, and other evidences collected by the competent authority, it clearly proves the conspiracy between Kem Sokha and the accomplices with foreign power, which harms the Kingdom of Cambodia", the statement read.

"And if I follow such a tactic and strategy and if I could not win, I do not know what else to do", he said.

Legal threats forced Kem Sokha's predecessor, Sam Rainsy, to resign this year from the Cambodia National Rescue Party he once led. It wanted a non-violent approach, it said. If Kem Sokha is found guilty of any offence, it could allow the government to shut the party under a new law.

The Daily's editor in chief, Jodie DeJonge, said her staff had been too focused on reporting to "think about what may come next".

Neither the U.S. state department nor the White House responded immediately to a request for comment.

The government has stepped up attacks on the United States and last month ordered the expulsion of the U.S. State Department-funded National Democratic Institute pro-democracy group. Earlier in the year, it suspended joint military exercises with the United States, which has voiced fears over the human rights situation.

The arrest "sends a very clear signal that democracy in Cambodia is under severe threat", she said, adding that if Kem Sokha is not released, "it's very clear there will be no free and fair elections" in 2018.

An independent newspaper, The Cambodia Daily, has been ordered to halt publishing by Monday because of a tax dispute, and at least 15 radio stations have been ordered to stop broadcasting programming from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

Sunday also marked the last day of publication for the Cambodia Daily after the newspaper was targeted by the government for allegedly not paying tax.

Independent media, opposition politicians and rights activists have been among casualties of a widening crackdown in the run-up to an election next year in which Hun Sen could face his toughest challenge of more than three decades in power.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rory McIlroy faces struggle to retain title as he slips down leaderboard
Sep 03, 2017 - 07:56
Jon Rahm shot a five-under 66 at TPC Boston to grab a two-shot lead at the halfway mark of the Dell Technologies Championship . It gives them a bit of a breather after Round One which has become traditionally, a very hard test out of the playoff gate.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United States retaliates against Russian Federation by giving diplomats the boot from major cities
Sep 02, 2017 - 00:27
Lavrov about the punishment in a phone call Thursday and sought to reassure him that the U.S.is not trying to ratchet up tension. She added the USA hoped both countries could now move toward "improved relations" and "increased cooperation".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top China August official services PMI slips to 53.4, lowest since May 2016
Sep 02, 2017 - 00:26
A measure of factory output rose to 56.9 from a revised 55.3 in July, according to IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index . Purchase price inflation accelerated for the first time in seven months during August.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Lenovo's mixed reality headset offers built-in tracking for $350
Sep 02, 2017 - 00:26
By combining our physical and digital worlds, we believe mixed reality is the next step in the evolution of human computing. Microsoft says that it will now be able to defend against new ransomware and exploits behind the scenes through the cloud.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's Wages At Liverpool Have Been Revealed
Sep 02, 2017 - 00:25
The 24-year-old has been heavily linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes for much of the summer. Speaking on BBC Five Live, via the Express , Wilson said: "I'm particularly upset about Alex ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Is it time for Wenger to be fired at Arsenal?
Sep 02, 2017 - 00:25
City remain very keen to sign Sanchez from before Deadline Day ends , though, and will improve on that initial offer. I'm here with England and we've got two big games coming up, so I want to focus on them.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top What to Know About Princess Diana's Death 20 Years Ago
Sep 01, 2017 - 01:51
Twenty years on, the world prepares to remember Princess Diana who died at the age of 36 on August 31, 1997 in Paris. Diana's memory is now worth millions of pounds a year in accessories, souvenirs and exhibitions.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Tigers Trade Justin Upton To Angels
Sep 01, 2017 - 01:49
He advanced to Double-A this season and has posted a 2.52 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, with 111 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings. The Tigers will fetch pitching prospect Grayson Long and a player to be named later or cash in exchange for Upton.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Eid al-Adha 2017: Significance of Bakrid And Celebrations
Sep 01, 2017 - 01:47
Each year, governors announce fines against anyone who slaughters animals on the streets during Eid al-Adha. While Egyptians prepare the sheep for the sacrifice, streets turn slowly into wide spaces of blood.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Transfer Deadline Day: Arsenal Make Massive bid for Liverpool Target Lemar
Sep 01, 2017 - 01:45
The north London club consider Lemar as "a replacement for Sanchez", and believe he will "placate fans" if the Chilean leaves.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Sheriff David Clarke Has Resigned
Sep 01, 2017 - 01:40
In June, Clarke was supposedly being considered for the Assistant Secretary Position at the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke was one of the few African-Americans to speak at the Republican Party national convention previous year .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top 11 unforgettable animal rescues in brutal aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
Aug 31, 2017 - 01:17
The groups are taking animals, mostly dogs and cats, that were already in Houston area shelters before the storm hit last Friday. Community's help neededAs Pets Alive welcomes the new dogs, they will need help from the community. "They need their exercise".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hip Injury Forces Andy Murray To Pull Out Of US Open
Aug 31, 2017 - 01:16
Murray battled a hip injury during Wimbledon as he was beaten in five sets in the quarterfinals by American Sam Querrey. Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, who lost in qualifying, gets into the 128-man field as a "lucky loser", replacing Murray.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Infimer Ltd (INFR) Sees The Tape Move Mid-Market
Aug 31, 2017 - 01:14
Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its position in shares of Magellan Midstream Partners L.P.by 8.0% in the first quarter. The stock of Rice Midstream Partners LP (NYSE:RMP) has "Hold" rating given on Sunday, August 27 by RBC Capital Markets.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Watch this short film that takes place before Blade Runner 2049
Aug 31, 2017 - 01:14
Replicant prohibition is still in full effect when Niander Wallace (of Wallace Corp., presumably) introduces the Nexus 9 . It begins with Wallace sitting in front of a group of authorities with one of the new Replicants he has developed.