Cambodia’s most prominent opposition leader, Kem Sokha has been sentenced to 27 years under house arrest for treason.
Kem who was the former leader of the now-dissolved Cambodian National Rescue Party, was also barred from standing or voting in elections.
He was accused of conspiring with foreign powers to overthrow Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government.
Hun Sen has been in power since 1985 and the country will now hold a general election in July.
The BBC reports that Kem Sokha was first arrested in 2017, based on a 2013 video where he said he had received support from US pro-democracy groups.
He and his lawyers have denied the charges; saying it is baseless.
Reacting, US ambassador to Cambodia, Patrick Murphy, described the case as a miscarriage of justice.
Also, Human rights groups and Western governments have condemned the charges against Kem Sokha as unfounded and politically motivated.
Writing by Annabel Nwachukwu