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In Cambodia, a political crackdown deepens

PHNOM PENH -- Pity the opponents of Cambodia's prime minister. Three years after nearly toppling the long-serving Hun Sen in national elections, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party finds itself besieged by an intensifying legal assault that has landed more than 20 critics of the government in jail in the past year.

The crackdown slipped into high gear on May 2 with the arrest of four staff members from Adhoc, a local human rights group, and a senior member of the National Election Committee. The five have been accused of bribing a 25-year-old hairdresser to deny an alleged affair with Kem Sokha, the CNRP's deputy president. Another "accomplice" -- a worker from the United Nations human rights office in Phnom Penh -- has been charged in absentia.

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