Millennium Post

Holed-up Cambodian opposition leader pardoned by king

A Cambodian opposition leader, who has spent months holed up in his party headquarters in a bid to avoid arrest, was pardoned by the king on Friday, breaking a lengthy political stalemate.

Kem Sokha, the acting head of Cambodia’s biggest opposition group, has refused to leave the headquarters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party since late May over a prosecution he says is politically motivated. He was sentenced to five months in jail in September for refusing to appear in court over an investigation into an alleged mistress of his.

Cambodia has been ruled for more than three decades by strongman premier Hun Sen, who critics and rights groups say has used the courts to jail opponents or tie them up in debilitating legal cases.

But the palace on Friday published a pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni. A government spokesman said Hun Sen had requested a royal pardon for his political opponent after Kem Sokha wrote a letter admitting guilt. “It’s originally because Mr Sokha acknowledged his wrong-doing. He confessed,” Sok Eysan, a spokesman for Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party said. 
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