Former Cambodia opposition leader sued over Facebook post

Former Cambodia opposition leader sued over Facebook post

Former Cambodia opposition leader sued over Facebook post

The State Department did not disclose which Cambodian ruling party officials would be affected by the restrictions but said in certain instances, their relatives could be also be barred from entering the US.

Phnom Penh: Cambodia's government on Thursday laughed off rare efforts by Donald Trump's administration to punish it over a clampdown on democracy and human rights, as the kingdom effectively becomes a one-party state under strongman Hun Sen.

The move comes amid an intense push by Hun Sen's government to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of an election next year, often through the country's pliant courts. Kem Sokha has been charged with trying to topple the government with USA support, which Washington has said is a baseless accusation. "This statement shows that the United States is destroying democracy", government spokesman Phay Siphan told Reuters, saying that the actions against the opposition had been legal and took place through the courts and parliament. The department cited a provision of US immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have "adverse foreign policy consequences".

The United States said after the banning of the CNRP that the election "will not be legitimate, free or fair", and withdrew an offer to help fund it.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as necessary, while maintaining our close and enduring ties with the people of Cambodia", Nauert said. Still, he said the relationship between the USA and Cambodia remained unchanged despite the new restrictions. "We are calling for targeted sanctions, which means not issuing visas to high-ranking officials, no scholarships for soldiers coming from Cambodia to Australia, we are calling for the freezing of assets of high-ranking officials coming to Australia".

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Hun Sen has been in office since 1985 and has held a tight grip on power since ousting a co-prime minister in a bloody 1997 coup.

"We call on the Cambodian government to reverse course by reinstating the political opposition, releasing Kem Sokha, and allowing civil society and media to resume their constitutionally protected activities", Nauert said in a statement.

Hun Sen's government has singled out US-funded media outlets critical of the regime, limiting access to Voice of America and forcing Radio Free Asia to shutter.

Speaking at Asian leaders' summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy.

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