The arrest of the leader of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, Kem Sokha on the night of 2-3 September, in breach of his parliamentary immunity, marks a dangerous political escalation. Along with recent actions by the authorities against NGOs and some media organisations, this arrest suggests a further effort to restrict the democratic space in Cambodia and the space for independent reporting, comment and criticism.
A credible democratic process leading up to the National Assembly election in July 2018 requires an environment in which political parties, civil society and the media are able to carry out their legitimate roles without fear, threats or arbitrary restrictions. The European Union is ready to continue to help Cambodia in this endeavour. We also expect the authorities of Cambodia to respect the right to due process of all Cambodians and of organisations operating in Cambodia. In view of his parliamentary immunity, we expect the authorities to release Kem Sokha immediately.