Ahead of commune and national elections in 2022 and 2023, Prime Minister Hun Sen used the Covid-19 pandemic to expand authoritarian control by further curtailing free speech, privacy rights, media freedoms, and peaceful assembly. In power since 1985, Hun Sen oversees one-party rule in parliament after Cambodia’s politicized courts dissolved the main opposition party prior to the 2018 elections. Draconian laws, extrajudicial killings, violent attacks, and politically motivated prosecutions, including mass trials against over 100 political opposition members and dozens of human rights defenders, perpetuate autocratic rule and silence dissent. Cambodia holds more than 60 political prisoners.

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