Cambodia opposition leader officially banned from entering the country

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rainsy-on-skypeIn a severe blow to democracy and freedom of speech in Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has officially been exiled from the country in a move that contradicts domestic laws and violates international conventions signed by the Cambodian government.

A letter from the country’s cabinet to immigration officials, made public over the weekend, warns that planes with him aboard will be forced to turn around and leave, according to local news site the Khmer Times.

A ruling party spokesman explained that Rainsy’s  return would “only bring bloodshed and destruction.” He is also currently wanted in Cambodia for arrest over a defamation conviction. Since last year, he has been staying in self-imposed exile in France but pledged he would return before the July 2018 national election.

After the official ban was announced, Rainsy said that his longer-term plans had not changed, though.

“I will return to Cambodia even if it’s not by airplane. I will go through roads or waterways,” he said on Facebook, adding that “I will come for the election campaign.”

He also said that the measure against him was “totally illegal”  on the grounds that he is a Cambodian citizen.

“I must not and I cannot be barred from coming back to Cambodia. This is a fundamental right of citizens,” he said. Rainsy hold dual citizenship of Cambodia and France.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the Cambodian government should “immediately rescind its order” banning Rainsy’s return to the country.

“The official exile of opposition leader Sam Rainsy is just the latest effort by Cambodia’s ruling party to win the next national elections – by ensuring they have no real competition,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

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In a severe blow to democracy and freedom of speech in Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has officially been exiled from the country in a move that contradicts domestic laws and violates international conventions signed by the Cambodian government. A letter from the country’s cabinet to immigration officials, made public over the weekend, warns that planes with him aboard will be forced to turn around and leave, according to local news site the Khmer Times. A ruling party spokesman explained that Rainsy's  return would "only bring bloodshed and destruction." He is also...

Reading Time: 1 minute

rainsy-on-skypeIn a severe blow to democracy and freedom of speech in Cambodia, opposition leader Sam Rainsy, head of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), has officially been exiled from the country in a move that contradicts domestic laws and violates international conventions signed by the Cambodian government.

A letter from the country’s cabinet to immigration officials, made public over the weekend, warns that planes with him aboard will be forced to turn around and leave, according to local news site the Khmer Times.

A ruling party spokesman explained that Rainsy’s  return would “only bring bloodshed and destruction.” He is also currently wanted in Cambodia for arrest over a defamation conviction. Since last year, he has been staying in self-imposed exile in France but pledged he would return before the July 2018 national election.

After the official ban was announced, Rainsy said that his longer-term plans had not changed, though.

“I will return to Cambodia even if it’s not by airplane. I will go through roads or waterways,” he said on Facebook, adding that “I will come for the election campaign.”

He also said that the measure against him was “totally illegal”  on the grounds that he is a Cambodian citizen.

“I must not and I cannot be barred from coming back to Cambodia. This is a fundamental right of citizens,” he said. Rainsy hold dual citizenship of Cambodia and France.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the Cambodian government should “immediately rescind its order” banning Rainsy’s return to the country.

“The official exile of opposition leader Sam Rainsy is just the latest effort by Cambodia’s ruling party to win the next national elections – by ensuring they have no real competition,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

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