Kem Sokha: Cambodian opposition leader freed from house arrest


The veteran opposition figure had planned to return to Cambodia on Saturday, Independence Day, in what prime minister Hun Sen characterised as an attempted coup against his rule of more than three decades.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court said in a statement that Kem Sokha could leave his house, but that he could not engage in political activity or leave the country.

Cambodian authorities have tightened security along the country's border amid the possible return of self-exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy on Saturday, coinciding with the countrys Independence Day.

He was to take a flight from Paris to Thailand, which has a border with Cambodia.

Sar Kheng said Sam Rainsy - who has several convictions with prison sentences to serve along with charges pending for several other alleged offenses - can return as an ordinary person but will have to face due justice. "I will never give up", Rainsy said as he got into a taxi to leave the Paris airport, insisting he would seek "an alternative flight to be able to leave for Thailand today".

"Keep up the hope".

"Democracy has prevailed in Malaysia, democracy will prevail in Cambodia", he told reporters at the airport.

The Special Rapporteur's comments came a day after the US 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". "Democracy will prevail", Sam Rainsy said. After a year in pre-trial detention, he was released on bail last September and placed under house arrest.

"We still continue to call for the drop of all charges and reinstatement of his political rights", Monovithya also wrote on Twitter. Sochua, the CNRP's deputy leader, was held at Kuala Lumpur airport as she tried to fly home for her leader's return.

Rainsy said it was "a political success" for him to be allowed to land in Malaysia, after Hun Sen had pressed other Southeast Asian countries to deny entry to CNRP members.

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"But the Royal Government of Cambodia has also announced the right to take legal action against any actions that attempt to undermine peace, social stability and security of the state".

A Cambodian court docket docket on Sunday lifted some limits on detained opposition chief Kem Sokha, mainly releasing him from property arrest and utilizing among the spotlight off his exiled colleague who's making an attempt to return to the nation.

Police with assault rifles massed at the Poipet border crossing with Thailand on Saturday, local time.

She noted that at least 89 people have been charged with "plotting against the State" and at least 52 people have been arrested in 20 provinces-many in connection with voicing support for Sam Rainsy's planned return-bringing to more than 200 the number of cases of harassment, and judicial actions against CNRP members or supporters since the start of 2019.

On his Facebook page, Hun Sen said he hoped people would enjoy the boat races during an annual water festival on Sunday and Monday.

Saory said Rainsy would meet CNRP supporters in Malaysia, as well as nongovernment organizations, and try to meet Malaysian government officials.

Amnesty International called on the Cambodian authorities to "stop pressuring neighboring governments to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain Cambodian citizens with links to the outlawed political opposition".

"Malaysia deserves kudos", Phil Robertson of US-based Human Rights Watch said.
"More governments in ASEAN need to emulate Malaysia if the bloc is ever going to rid itself of its reputation as a rights abusing club of recalcitrant dictators".

Phay Siphan added that should Kem Sokha be convicted, Hun Sen could ask for a royal pardon for the opposition leader.