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Exiled leader promises thousands will walk with him in Cambodia through Thailand in a challenge to Hun Sen

Sam Rainsy said he wishes to organise a huge rally of Cambodian exiles and opponents to the regime of Minister Hun Sen

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Self-exiled opposition leader had planned to rally with thousands of his supporters to march into Cambodia through the Thai border last Saturday, but his plan faltered after he was barred from flying to Bangkok from Paris.

In an interview with Malaysiakini in Putrajaya he repeated his wish to organise a huge rally of Cambodian exiles and opponents to the regime of Prime Minister .

Thai Airways blocked Rainsy from boarding a flight from Paris to Bangkok. He landed in this weekend and was given the honour of visiting Parliament.

But is not opening its doors to the 70-year-old leader.

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“On my return to Thailand, even if (Prime Minister) Hun Sen stations rifle-toting men at the border, I will not back down as I have thousands of migrant workers (in Thailand) to walk with me.

“I’m prepared to sacrifice my life. If he shoots , he will be in trouble and would face the Criminal Court,” Rainsy said during the interview.

Rainsy has lived in exile since 2015 following a crackdown against the opposition and the media in his country.
He arrived in Kuala Lumpur airport on Saturday afternoon after boarding a flight from Paris.
But the Cambodian authorities did not seem to like the fact that Malaysia allowed the opposition leader to land in Malaysia.
A Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesperson Koy Kuong said on Saturday that Cambodia respected the decision of the Malaysian in dealing with a request from Phnom Penh.
“Cambodian has already talked with all the governments of Asean countries and informed them of the nine convicted fugitives. So we won’t do another follow-up request.
“I have heard that Prime Minister Mohamad has said he would not interfere in the internal affairs of another country and would not allow any group to use Malaysian territory to carry out activities against other countries,” Kuong said.
On the other hand, Cambodia beefed up at the border on Saturday while troops in trucks patrolled Phnom Penh  as it was Cambodia’s Independence day.

In June, the Cambodian government said it was preparing cases against Sam Rainsy who is also the acting president of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party or CNRP. The plan is to submit the case to the French courts.

News reports said Prime Minister Hun Sen and Sar Kheng were preparing documents to file complaints against the ‘convict’ to the French courts’ to find universal justice for them both.’

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The accusation seems to focus on Sam Rainsy’s accusation that Hun Sen killed General Hok Lundy and accused Cambodia’s Minister of Interior Sar Kheng of plotting to overthrow Hun Sen.

In 2017, the courts in Cambodia banned and dissolved the CNRP forcing many of its leaders to go into exile.

In 2018, Hun Sen won the general elections capturing 100% of the National Assembly seats.

Hun Sen promised he will arrest Rainsy and drag him to court if he lands in Cambodia. /TISG

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