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Cambodian broadcaster sentenced to 20 years on insurrection charges

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A Cambodian court has sentenced a dissident radio station owner to 20 years in prison on insurrection charges that critics claim are part of a political vendetta by the government.

Judge Chaing Sinat of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said 71-year-old Mam Sonando was convicted and sentenced Monday on four counts related to an alleged secessionist movement in eastern Cambodia.

His Beehive Radio is one of the country's few radio stations broadcasting criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen's government.

The Cambodian Center for Human Rights condemned the verdict and the sentence as a violation of the right to free expression.

It said no evidence was presented at the trial linking Mam Sonando to unrest involving a land dispute in Kratie province that the government alleged amounted to a rebellion.

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Supporters shout slogans as they hold up portraits of detained radio station owner Mam Sonando during a protest near Phnom Penh's municipal court in Cambodia on Monday. (AFP)

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