Sun. Feb 23rd, 2020

Cambodia reinforces security at its border before the return of an opposition leader

The Cambodian authorities reinforced security along the border, as photographs taken on Saturday by human rights guarantee groups show, given the possible return of an opposition leader in exile.

Rows of military, barbed wire and security controls are part of the device deployed by the Army and Police at border crossings with Thailand, as pointed out in a series of images published on social networks the Center for Human Rights in Cambodia (CCHR , in English).

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who was prevented from boarding in Paris on Thursday on a flight to Bangkok, said last night on his Facebook profile that he has managed to ride in Paris on a plane to return to Cambodia, although this time without specifying its possible transit destination

The Cambodian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has governed since 1985, has described this plan as an attempted coup d'etat and has pledged to prevent it by all means with the collaboration of countries in the region such as Thailand and Malaysia.

In addition, Nom Pen on Friday canceled passports to more than a dozen opponents who are outside the country and had previously announced their plans to return.

Authorities have placed posters on the borders with photographs of the main opponents to prevent their entry into the country this Saturday, Cambodian Independence Day and for which Sam Rainsy had announced his return.

Despite having a French passport, Rainsy, co-founder of the outlawed National Party for the Rescue of Cambodia (CNRP), was stopped two days ago at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris when Thai Thai flag airlines did not allowed him to board the plane bound for Bangkok.

This Saturday, the politician posted a video from the same airport where he appears minutes before boarding, to an unspecified destination and with an unidentified company, and announces in Cambodian the start of the return trip, after remaining in exile since 2016 to avoid prison sentences, which he blames for political persecution.

In recent days, Malaysia also prevented three Cambodian opponents from traveling to Cambodia, including Mu Sochua, former CNRP vice president, who has a US passport.

Hun Sen, the prime minister who has been occupying the position of the world for more time, has ordered the arrest of opponents before the accusation of "treason" and already in mid-2018 he maneuvered alongside the judiciary to outlaw the CNRP and arrest its leaders.

In a statement, the oenegé Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Cambodian authorities to allow the return of the opposition leader with the aim of "restoring a multi-party democracy" in Cambodia and asked the nations of the region to allow them to travel.

"Rainsy and the rest of the opponents have the right to return to their country and participate in peaceful political activities … It is ridiculous that the Government of Cambodia militarily threatens a political party that has always acted under nonviolence," he says. Brad Adams, director of HRW in Asia.

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