Cambodia eases pressure by releasing political prisoners

Facing international condemnation over human rights and a flawed election, Hun Sen shows his merciful side.

Three years ago, a Cambodian court found Meach Sovannara guilty of insurrection and sentenced him to a draconian 20 years in prison. On Aug. 27, he suddenly received a royal pardon along with 13 other members and supporters of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP).

“I’m glad I’m free, but it was injustice that I was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a five-minute talk,” Meach Sovannara said after his release on Aug. 28.

In less than two weeks, 19 political prisoners were released in Cambodia. Some were former CNRP lawmakers but others included CNRP land rights activist Tep Vanny, political commentator Kim Sok and Radio Free Asia reporters Uon Chhin and Yoeung Sothearin.

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