Court Extends Detention of Cambodian Opposition Leader

Cambodia's main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party Deputy President Kem Sokha gestures in 2016 during a speech at the party headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo: Heng Sinith / Associated Press
Cambodia's main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party Deputy President Kem Sokha gestures in 2016 during a speech at the party headquarters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo: Heng Sinith / Associated Press

PHNOM PENH — A court in Cambodia has extended by six months the pre-trial detention of Kem Sokha, the leader of the now-dissolved main opposition party who already has been held for a year on a treason charge.

One of Kem Sokha’s lawyers says the court ruled Thursday that his continued detention was necessary for the sake of national security and further investigation.

Kem Sokha was arrested last September on the basis of videos from several years ago showing him at a seminar where he spoke about receiving advice from U.S. pro-democracy groups. His opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party denied the treason allegation, calling it politically motivated.

Another court last November dissolved the opposition party, saying it was plotting with U.S. assistance to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.