With the recent court ruling sentencing a 71-year-old radio journalist to 20 years in prison for alleged insurrection, the United States of America is deeply concerned by the conviction and harsh sentence of Mam Sonando.
Reports say Mam Sonando, the founder of Beehive Radio, one of the country’s few independent stations was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced to 20 years in prison for insurrection charges.
According to US State Department, a number of observers in Cambodia have noted that the charges against him appear to have been politically-motivated, based on his frequent criticism of the government.
“We strongly support freedom of expression, including the rights of members of the press to peacefully express political views without fear of persecution, retribution, or intimidation, consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” -US State Department
The United States renews call on the Cambodian government to release Mam Sonando immediately, to ensure that its court system is free from political influence, and to reaffirm its commitment to guaranteeing its citizens’ basic human rights.
With the harsh conviction of Mam Sonando, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights criticized the conviction as being politically motivated.
In addition, Amnesty International called the conviction “shocking and baseless.”
Freedom House reports that Cambodia dropped to Not Free status because of increased violence against journalists.