Cambodia PM shrugs off EU aid threat as opposition supporters jailed

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen shrugged off European parliament threats to review aid if his administration continues to harass political opponents on the same day as a court jailed three more opposition activists. The European Union has called on Hun Sen to halt “judicial harassment” of adversaries and the United Nations has also called for dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition as tension mounts in the Southeast Asian country ahead of a general election in 2018. But the threats appear to have fallen on deaf ears as a municipal court sentenced three opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party supporters to seven years in jail for insurrection after an anti-government protest turned violent in 2014. The three had been in jail since 2015.

Don’t scare and threaten me.

Prime Minister Hun Sen

The European parliament said in a resolution on Thursday that aid worth around $461 million should be dependent on improvements in human rights and called on authorities drop all charges against opposition leader Sam Rainsy who has been in exile since late last year to avoid arrest. Hun Sen, who has ruled with an iron fist for more than 30 years, said that any cut in aid would only affect foreign-paid non-governmental organisation workers, not him. The European resolution also called for the immediate release of five rights activists who have been jailed in relation to a sex scandal probe with links to Rainsy’s deputy, Kem Sokha.

The political temperature has risen following arrests and jailings so we need to find the solution to this.

CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang