Cambodia’s main opposition leader has been put on trial for the first time on Wednesday, according to a local newspaper.
The head of Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Kem Sokha, was arrested on Sept. 3, 2017 and charged with treason.
A speech given by Sokha in Australia in 2013, saying he had received advice from American pro-democracy groups, is now being used against him as evidence of allegations of collaborating with the U.S. to topple the Cambodian government, The Cambodia Daily reported Wednesday.
Sokha was jailed for more than one year and was released on bail in September 2018, but was subsequently placed under house arrest.
A U.S. legislation which was approved on July 16 called for his release and also the reinstatement of the dissolved CNRP and restoration of its seats in the parliament.
The legislation, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, sought action against Cambodian officials, responsible for undermining democracy and violating human rights in the Southeast Asian nation.
Cambodia, a constitutional monarchy with a population of over 16 million, operates as a parliamentary democracy.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who is in office since 1985, is the head of government.