30 Jan '11, 2am

Cambodia 'tears up freedom to muffle dissent'

PHNOM PENH: The Cambodian government is choking freedoms and locking up detractors in an increasingly bold effort to silence critics as elections loom, observers say. Prime Minister Hun Sen, 59, who has vowed to remain in power until he is 90, recently said on national radio that his aim was "not just to weaken the opposition, but to make it die". The comment was the latest in a string of outbursts against critics, prompting fears that freedoms are under threat as the government looks ahead to local polls next year and a general election in 2013. "The space for dissent has shrunk to the point where people are gasping for air," said Mathieu Pellerin of local rights group Licadho. "Vast areas of political debate have been effectively declared off-limits. The most minor venture into these fenced-off topics can bring the authorities' wrath, whether you are a prominent politici...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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