PHNOM PENH, July 22 (Xinhua) -- The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP), led by Prime Minister Hun Sen, issued a statement late on Wednesday saying the country has no political prisoners, but politicians who commit offences.
"The CPP respects human rights and freedoms of individuals in their exercise of rights and freedoms under the state's law, so Cambodia has no political prisoners, but politicians who commit offences and are punished by law," the statement said.
It also denied the allegations that the CPP-led government is using judicial system to suppress dissidents, saying that judicial power is "an independent power".
The statement came after the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and human rights groups have decried the convictions of 11 CNRP members and activists between seven and 20 years in prison for leading or joining an "insurrection" during an anti-government protest a year ago.
They said the sentences were "politically motivated".
The 11 party members and activists were arrested after they launched an anti-government protest on July 15, 2014 near the Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, which turned violent, leaving more than 40 people injured, mostly security forces.
In April this year, they were freed on bail as part of the political agreement between the two parties that led to the CNRP ending its 10-month parliamentary boycott after a disputed 2013 election.
The activists were re-arrested and sent back to jail on Tuesday while they appeared in court to hear their verdicts.