Malaysia Detains Two Cambodian Dissidents Headed for Thailand

  • Malaysia Detains Two Cambodian Dissidents Headed for Thailand

Malaysia Detains Two Cambodian Dissidents Headed for Thailand

Sam Rainsy has said he will cross into Cambodia via a land border, as Hun Sen has ordered flights into Phnom Penh not to allow him to board. They say they seek to spark a popular movement to oust long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen, an autocratic leader who has clamped down on his opponents and demolished democracy.

A high-profile Cambodian opposition leader is preparing to return to his country even as the government ramps up another political crackdown.

Former president of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy, who is living in exile, poses on his terrace in Paris July 19, 2018. Malaysia's Home Ministry and Immigration Department withdrew the order after an appeal, said Jerald Joseph of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.

Sam Rainsy said that he was shocked and disappointed by Thailand's position, but that he would still try to carry out the plan to return.

Referring to Thailand's ties with Cambodia as a fellow member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grouping, Prayut said: "According to our commitment to ASEAN, we will not interfere in each other's internal affairs, and we will not allow an anti-government person to use Thailand for activism".

He is likely, however, to be detained in Thailand, which recently turned away the vice president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party when she flew into Bangkok's main global airport.

Supporters of Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, stand outside the Appeal Court during a bail hearing for the detained opposition leader in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on September 26, 2017.

Mu Sochua did not appear in court, and fled overseas instead.

"They are supporters of Mu Sochua's party".

"We have to take the risk".

A 2017 court ruling dissolved the CNRP for conspiring to overthrow the government, which led to a five-year ban for more than 100 party members. Shortly afterwards, the Cambodian embassy in Jakarta issued a statement urging authorities in Indonesia to arrest and deport the "fugitive" Sochua.

She is one of several colleagues who are planning to return with Sam Rainsy, despite Cambodia's government also declaring them unwelcome.

Cambodian police and soldiers have already been deployed at major crossing points with Thailand, including airports, over the past few days to prevent the banned politicians' return or arrest them if they do, while airlines have been warned not to allow them to board inbound planes.