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World leaders urged to boycott summit over Cambodia convictions

Publication Date : 03-10-2012


Human Rights Watch is urging world leaders to boycott the East Asia summit in Phnom Penh next month if convictions of Beehive Radio station owner Mam Sonando, opposition leader Sam Rainsy and others are not overturned.

In a statement released in New York yesterday, the American human rights group demanded the "immediate release" of the broadcaster and others convicted for being involved in an attempted secession in Kratie in May. The convictions were based on "trumped-up charges," it said.

"These latest convictions call into question whether Cambodia should host November’s East Asia Summit," said Brad Adams, the group's Asia director.

"President Barack Obama and other world leaders should insist that unless these and other baseless convictions are overturned, including that of opposition leader Sam Rainsy, they will call for the summit to be moved to another Asean country," he said.

The remarks by Adams echo those made last week by opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua who said Obama's visit could be construed as support for the "communist" government of Cambodia.

Mom Sonando was sentenced to 20 years on Monday for his role in the secession. Sam Rainsy, the exiled opposition leader believed to be living in France, has meanwhile been sentenced in absentia to 10 years for uprooting markers along the border with Vietnam. Both have dual French-Cambodian citizenship.

Adams asserted that "no credible evidence of a secessionist movement or of Sonando’s involvement was produced at the Phnom Penh court, yet it handed down these incredibly harsh sentences anyway.

"Sonando and the other activists are being imprisoned for the peaceful exercise of their political views and should be released immediately," he said.


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