Published: Sun, November 10, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cambodian opposition veteran lands in Malaysia in challenge to Hun Sen

Cambodian opposition veteran lands in Malaysia in challenge to Hun Sen

Cambodia freed opposition leader Kem Sokha from house arrest on Sunday, more than two years after he was arrested and charged with treason, but the charges remain and he is banned from politics and from leaving the country. The Thai government, however, has indicated it is unlikely to let Rainsy even into Thailand on "national security" concerns. The government had expected opposition supporters to attempt to disrupt the event. Yet, Siphan said, Malaysia had indicated it did not want to interfere into Cambodia's internal affairs, and allowing opposition supporters to return to Cambodia amounted to interference into internal affairs.

"We nonetheless keep on to connect with for the dropping of all costs and reinstatement of his political legal rights", the USA -primarily primarily based daughter, Kem Monovithya, wrote on Twitter.

The Special Rapporteur's comments came a day after the USA embassy in Phnom Penh expressed support for the "reopening of political and civic space" and called for a "peaceful and inclusive process of national reconciliation in order to restore the genuine multiparty democracy and better respect fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Cambodian constitution".

It is unclear how he will get back to the country and for now he plans to meet with Malaysian MPs this week. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had said earlier that he would be barred from entering Thailand. "More countries in ASEAN need to emulate Malaysia going forward if the bloc is ever going to shake the moniker of being primarily a dictator's club".

He had originally said he planned to cross to Cambodia from Thailand on Saturday with other leaders of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), but he was refused permission to board a Thai Airways plane from Paris on Thursday, local time.

Fellow opposition figure Sam Rainsy, 70, flew into Malaysia on Saturday and told supporters to "keep up the hope" after promising to return home with other exiled opposition leaders to challenge Hun Sen. "We welcome them", he said, before adding, "We have to arrest them on the spot". Malaysia was, therefore, looking for a third country to which it could relocate the opposition members, he said.

Asked whether he planned to return to Cambodia he said: 'I can not say anything.

Rainsy holds dual citizenship, and according to Robertson, he entered Malaysia on his French passport.

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"There will be no dialogue with the rebels, who are led by Sam Rainsy", he said. "It's unpredictable and anything can happen".

In Malaysia, Sam Rainsy was meeting officials to discuss strategy on Sunday.

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where he was taken aside briefly by Malaysian immigration authorities, Sam Rainsy told reporters that he had been invited to the Malaysian parliament on Tuesday as part of a private visit.

In the elections in 2018, Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party (CPP) won all 125 National Assembly seats.

"The rapid increase in numbers of arrests and serious charges filed against CNRP members is alarming", she said in a statement. According to a United Nations statement, credible information showed that at least 52 activists had been arrested and 89 charged with "plotting against the state" since August. Also, he faces a five-year sentence in a different case.

"We follow the SOP and did not comply with what was requested by the Cambodian (government) because we make the decision whether to send people back, allow them in and others following our own calculations, " he said.

In an email to RFA, an embassy spokesperson said that the "deeply concerned" by expanding arrests, harassment, and intimidation of members of the CNRP, and by efforts to thwart the return of citizens seeking peaceful participation in the country's political process-actions they labeled "an escalation in the suppression of the political opposition".

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