Cambodian radio journalist jailed for 20 years for alleged "secessionist plot"
The Director of Cambodian radio station, Beehive 105FM, has been sentenced to 20 years prison for allegedly leading a secessionist plot, despite the apparent lack of any evidence.
After a one week trial during which no hard evidence was presented, Cambodian journalist Mam Sonando, director of the radio station Beehive 105FM and president of the Democrat Association, today received a 20 year sentence for having led a "secessionist plot".
The 70-year-old broadcaster runs a radio station that is known for its critical and oppositional reporting. The charges against him are believed to stem from Beehive's reporting of a complaint against the Cambodian government to the International Criminal Court, alleging its involvement in crimes against humanity. Shortly after this broadcast, Mam Sonando was arrested at his home.
Mam Sonando has been imprisoned twice before for publicly airing criticism of the Cambodian government. His current conviction comes at a time of significant civil unrest in Cambodia. Street protests and tensions around land disputes and labour rights have led to renewed restrictions on free speech and a clampdown on the media.
Sonando announced that he would appeal the sentence.