Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Cambodian govt urged to stop pressuring neighbours over opposition figures abroad

Nov 08. 2019
Sam Rainsy
Sam Rainsy
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By Amnesty kha/Cambodia: Stop pressuring regional neighbours to harass opposition figures

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Cambodian authorities should stop pressuring neighbouring governments to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain Cambodian citizens with links to the outlawed political opposition, Amnesty International said today.

“The last few days have seen a wave of brazen harassment and intimidation of Cambodians throughout the region. It is appalling that Hun Sen’s government is trying to co-opt regional neighbours to collude in this blatant abuse,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and South East Asia regional director.

Several members of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have been detained or threatened across the region in recent days, including in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Mu Sochua, deputy leader of the CNRP and a dual Cambodia-US citizen, was detained for most of the day by the Malaysian authorities upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport this morning. She was later released.

Ngoeum Keatha and Heng Seang Leang, two other Cambodian citizens, were detained by the Malaysian authorities since Monday. After days of uncertainty regarding their possible deportation to Cambodia, where they faced certain serious human rights violations, it was announced that they would also be released by the Malaysian authorities.

“The Malaysian authorities have ultimately done the right thing – but the three should never have been detained in the first place. Other Asean states must follow suit and refuse to collude in Cambodia’s human rights abuses,” said Nicholas Bequelin.

According to documents seen by Amnesty International, the Cambodian authorities on Thursday (November 7) arbitrarily revoked the passports of 12 Cambodian citizens affiliated with the CNRP.

Amnesty International has received further reports that Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand have been subject to increased surveillance and intimidation in recent days. 

On Wednesday (November 6), in Thailand’s Samut Prakan province, a group of 60 or so Cambodians was dispersed by Thai police and two individuals were arrested and interrogated for hours before later released.

On November 4, in Pathum Thani province, a dozen police surrounded the house of a Cambodian man, though he had already fled his home.

On November 6, before flying to Malaysia, Mu Sochua was addressing a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, when the Cambodia ambassador to Indonesia disrupted the event and called for her arrest. In October, Mu Sochua was also denied entry to Thailand by Thai immigration officials, after the Cambodian authorities issued warrants for the arrest of CNRP leaders to fellow Asean states.

The Cambodian authorities have taken other steps to thwart the return of CNRP leaders. On November 1, the Cambodian civil aviation authority threatened airlines with prosecution for supporting “a coup d’état” should they allow Sam Rainsy, the acting leader of the CNRP, to board a flight to Cambodia.

Earlier today, Sam Rainsy was denied checking in to a flight from Paris to Bangkok. On Thursday, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that Rainsy would not be allowed to re-enter Cambodia via Thailand.

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