The European Parliament has called on the government of Cambodia to drop all charges against opposition leader Kem Sokha. The 65-year-old is the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which was dissolved as part of the crackdown ahead of a general election in July.

Sokha was arrested last September as part of a government-led crackdown against critics.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Commission, told the European Parliament that Cambodia’s democracy has made “significant steps backward”.

The vote by European lawmakers comes after the United States earlier this week urged the Cambodian government to drop all charges against Sokha.

MEPs have also expressed serious concerns over the conduct and results of the 2018 elections, which failed to produce a credible process, and underlines that this electoral procedure cannot be considered free and fair.