Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party over claims of plotting a coup attempt.
Prime Minister Hun Sen – an ex-Khmer Rouge commander described by critics as authoritarian and increasingly oppressive – now looks set to extend more than three decades in power in elections next year.
There was heavy security outside the court, with police and soldiers keeping people away.
Legal experts denounced “a mockery of justice” as the Supreme Court of Cambodia dissolved the main opposition party https://t.co/sXIbpgJDGv— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) November 16, 2017
Government lawyer Ky Tech confirmed the verdict to the waiting media.
He added that 118 members of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party are banned from any political activity for five years and no appeal is possible.
BREAKING: The Supreme Court has ruled to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party, ending the only legitimate electoral threat to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party #Cambodia https://t.co/IJqDYMdPpt pic.twitter.com/VRGe200oPS— The Phnom Penh Post (@phnompenhpost) November 16, 2017
But the opposition party’s deputy, who is among more than 20 opposition members who have fled the country, said from London that the fight is not over.
Mu Sochua said: “We will not demonstrate right now. But in the heart, in our hearts, in our minds, in our spirits, in our soul, the fight for democracy will continue. It will not die.”
The party denies the claims against it.
Cambodia: Banning of opposition party a “blatant act of political repression” https://t.co/LZUk9miwK9— Seamus Kearney (@seamuskearney_) November 16, 2017
Current leader Kem Sokha has been in jail since September, charged with treason.
The head of the panel of judges that dissolved the opposition is a senior member of the ruling party.