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Student in Cambodia Jailed for Facebook Post

Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen

Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen

Kong Raya, a university student in Cambodia, has been convicted by a court for his Facebook post that called for regime change.

Raya was arrested in August 2015 when he posted on his Facebook page that he will make a “colour revolution” to change the regime for Khmer society.

The Khmer empire, the predecessor state to modern Cambodia, was a Khmer Hindu-Buddhist empire in Southeast Asia.

On his arrest, Raya was seen handcuffed and led by armed soldiers – which is being viewed as a flagrant violation of human rights in Cambodia.

The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) says it is deeply concerned by the conviction handed down by the Cambodian court against Raya, over his anti-government Facebook post.

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The 25-year-old, who attends Khemarak University, was sentenced to 18 months in jail on 15 March 2016. With six months already served in pre-trial detention, he faces another year in prison, reports OHCHR.

It is believed that Raya is the first Cambodian to be convicted over a social media post.

Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen (pictured above) has expressed his resolve to use force to crush all types of online opposition such as social media posts that criticize the government.

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“Freedom of expression is the right of all citizens, and an important feature of a genuine democracy,” said Laurent Meillan, OHCHR’s acting regional representative in Bangkok.

“For someone to face criminal charges over exercising this right – particularly in what is essentially a personal area – is a clear indication of the diminishing democratic space in Cambodia.”

The OHCHR regional office urges the Royal Government of Cambodia to cease prosecution of individuals merely for expressing an opinion.

Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

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