2 rappers jailed in Cambodia for lyrics critical of government

Bangkok, Dec 22 (efe-epa).- A Cambodian court sentenced two rappers to prison on Tuesday for what has been described as inciting people to commit crimes in the lyrics of their songs, in which they commented on social issues and criticized the government.

Kea Sokun, 22, and Long Putheara, 17, had been under preventive custody since September, following a complaint by the Ministry of Arts and Culture regarding the lyrics of their songs, in which they criticized the government’s response to economic problems and conflicts at its borders.

The court in Siem Reap sentenced Sokun to a year and a half in prison, however, he is expected to be released in September 2021, the nonprofit Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (Licadho) said in a statement.

During the trial, the young rapper refused to plead guilty and said he had nothing to apologize for.

Meanwhile Putheara, who admitted it was a mistake to release songs on social issues, was sentenced to five months in prison of which he is expected to serve three months and eleven days since his arrest.

In recent months, several organizations have criticized Cambodia’s tightening of restrictions on civil society and called for an end to arrests and excessive use of force against activists. EFE-EPA


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