Cambodian journalist jailed for '20 years'

2012-10-01 15:12

Phnom Penh - A Cambodian radio director was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, a decision that provoked emotional scenes outside a Phnom Penh court.

Mam Sonando, head of Beehive Radio and president of Cambodia's Democrat Association, was arrested in July in connection with an alleged secessionist plot.

International civil rights and journalist groups claimed that the prominent government critic was persecuted for exercising freedom of speech.

Mam Sonando was charged with participating in an insurrection, inciting people to take up arms, and obstruction of public officials, according to the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights.

Courtroom observers said he was sentenced to 20 years in prison at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday.

Hundreds of supporters outside the court clutched lotus flowers and photographs of the defendant. Some wept as news of the verdict spread.