A Cambodian court on Saturday charged two journalists with espionage for filing news reports to a U.S.-funded radio station, which can carry a prison term of up to 15 years.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, the strongman who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades, has taken a strident anti-American line in an increasingly tense run-up to a 2018 election and there has been a crackdown on critics, rights groups and independent media.

The United States announced it was ending funding for the election, and promised more "concrete steps," after the Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Thursday at the request of the government, on the grounds it was plotting to seize power.