Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

The party “resolutely rejects the notion that the return from exile of the CNRP leaders can be treated as ‘intention to commit armed rebellion’ as such charges have no relation neither to reality nor to legality,” she wrote on Twitter, adding, “We have No arms!”

Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

PHNOM PENH – Cambodian authorities have launched a crackdown on activists in a move observers say is an attempt to intimidate opposition supporters ahead of the planned, but uncertain return next month from self-exile of Sam Rainsy, the acting head of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, and other opposition leaders.

Rainsy, who faces a range of charges and convictions in absentia and multiple arrest warrants, and others who fled the country following the 2017 dissolution of the CNRP, plan to return Nov. 9, which is Cambodian Independence Day and the anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall fell.

According to a CNRP list, as of midday Oct. 9, 37 activists affiliated with the party and former officials have been arrested this year and placed in pre-trial detention. Thirteen of those were arrested in September. Since then, four more members have been arrested.

More than a dozen others have been charged over the past week with incitement to commit a felony or with conspiracy to topple the government for attempts to mobilize citizens for the return of the opposition leaders.

Phay Siphan, a spokesman for Cambodia’s Council of Ministers, said the arrests were justified as those arrested had indicated they would join Rainsy on his return to stage a coup.

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