US criticises Thailand for deporting shoe-thrower

In this Feb 8, 2017 photo, Sam Sokha stands in the police station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. (Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON: The US is criticising Thailand for repatriating a Cambodian labour activist wanted for throwing a shoe at a billboard depicting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The activist, Sam Sokha, was arrested after she was returned to Cambodia on Thursday.

Police said she was to serve a two-year prison sentence after being convicted in absentia on Jan 25 on charges of insulting a public official and "incitement to discriminate".

State Department spokeswoman for East Asia, Katina Adams, said Monday the US was "deeply concerned" that Sam Sokha was repatriated in spite of her UN-recognised refugee status.

Ms Adams urged Thailand to refrain from "involuntary refugee returns".

A 13-second video clip that circulated last April showed Sam Sokha throwing shoes at images of Hun Sen and a party colleague.

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