Shrill actions against the authoritarian governing prime minister of Cambodia made her known. Now the activist with a US passport has been sentenced to prison in Phnom Penh.

Prominent human rights activist Theary Seng has been sentenced to six years in prison for high treason in Cambodia.

The 51-year-old lawyer, who also has a US passport, was taken to jail by police on Tuesday just after the verdict, according to photos shared by media and social networks.

It showed Seng with his head shaved. Radio Free Asia quoted her as saying she cut her hair as a precaution to prevent lice in prison. Her lawyer said he would appeal the verdict.

Dozens of their comrades-in-arms were sentenced to between five and eight years in prison. The controversial case concerned an attempt by Sam Rainsy, a prominent opposition politician who lives in exile abroad, to return to Cambodia. The venture failed in 2019, and Seng and other activists were charged with “preparing to commit treason.”

Known for shrill actions

In the past, Seng has repeatedly protested against the government of permanent Prime Minister Hun Sen with strident actions. The 69-year-old has been in power for 37 years and governs the country in an authoritarian manner. He is repeatedly accused of detaining and intimidating political opponents.

On Tuesday, Theary Seng waited for the verdict outside the courthouse dressed as the Statue of Liberty. The media quoted her as saying she wanted her arrest to be in the public eye. Seng had lost her parents as a child under the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge. She lived in the USA until she finished her studies.

US Ambassador to Cambodia W. Patrick Murphy tweeted a photo of Seng shortly before her arrest and wrote: “We are deeply disturbed by today’s verdict against Theary Seng. Freedom of expression and assembly, as well as tolerance of dissenting opinions, are essential components of democracy.”