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Human Rights Activists Concerned about Democracy in Cambodia

NGO officials are expressing concerns about democracy in Cambodia after Prime Minister Hun Sen rejected criticism from the US, EU, and the UN Secretary-General special representative on human rights in Cambodia on the sentencing of opposition leader to 18 months in prison.

Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) Kem Sokha said PM Hun Sen's rejection of international criticism is a negative sign for Cambodia which relies heavily on foreign aid and is a step backward for democracy in the country.

Director of COMFREL, which monitors elections in Cambodia, said the prime minister should embrace criticism and look for ways to correct what are wrong.

The U.S. Government, the European Union, Human Rights Watch, have expressed concerns and worries about the 18-month sentencing the Cambodian court had handed on opposition leader Sam Rainsy.

PM Hun Sen denies the court is under the influence of the government and urges opposition leader Sam Rainsy to return to Cambodia to serve at least two third of his jail sentence before asking the king for a pardon