HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanCambodia rejects calls for release of Cambodian American activist

Cambodia rejects calls for release of Cambodian American activist

The UN is calling for the release of human rights activist and attorney Theary Seng after an investigation, reports Radio Free Asia.

Investigators determined her detention is “a direct result of her exercise of her right to freedom of expression, which is protected under international law.”

A Cambodian court sentenced her to six years in prison for treason in June of last year.

Seng’s brother also called for her release saying “Theary’s case is part of a pattern of regime abuse and retaliation against democracy and human rights advocates. The regime has weaponized its court system to reduce civic engagement and to silence opposition,” according to UCA News.

However, the Cambodian government has rejected the criticism of Seng’s arrest, stating that she “stirred chaos in Cambodian society.” Last month, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that he would not pardon Seng, and that although Seng has dual citizenship to both Cambodia and the U.S., “her case applies only to Cambodian law.

“Our court jurisdiction is under the laws of Cambodia as an independent and sovereign state,” said Sok Ey San, spokesman for the Cambodian People’s Party.

When asked, the State Department refused to say whether Seng was improperly arrested.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has joined the calls for her release.

“With respect to this case, there is no higher … pressure we can bring to bear than the secretary of state himself personally raising a case with his counterparts,” Miller said at Wednesday’s daily briefing, reported Radio Free Asia.

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