Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy announces Saturday return

Content image- Phnom Penh Post

Mu Sochua the vice-president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party. Facebook

Self-exiled Cambodian opposition party founder Sam Rainsy says he will return on Saturday to face arrest amid a crackdown at home on members of his banned party and Malaysia's detention of two party activists trying to return.

"This may be the last time you see me alive or as a free man", he said.

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.

Rainsy, a former finance minister, has vowed to return to lead demonstrations against the one-party rule of longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen, whom he called "a brutal dictator". He and several colleagues face charges of armed rebellion for their return plan, which could earn them prison terms of 15-30 years.

Officials have repeatedly warned that if the opposition leaders did make it into Cambodia, they would immediately be arrested.

"I wish to request, therefore, the right to land at Bangkok worldwide airport on November 8, and then to enter Cambodia at Poipet, near Aranyaprathet", Rainsy wrote on his letter to Thailand Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha dated October 31, 2019, as seen by ANTARA.

Rainsy, who has lived in France since 2015 to avoid jail for convictions he says are politically motivated, has promised a dramatic homecoming on November 9, Cambodia's Independence Day. "We will not interfere in another country and will not allow an anti-government group to use Thailand for its movement".

He added: "I have ordered this, so he probably won't get in".

Last week, immigration police in Thailand deported the opposition party's vice president, Mu Sochua, when she arrived at Bangkok's global airport.

The exiled Mu Sochua, according to the Reuters report on October 24, was denied access into Thailand when she wanted to enter Cambodia by crossing the border between the two countries. "I have assessed those risks and they are worth taking, worth taking because the Cambodian people have been suffering for a long time, so we have to try to put an end to the sufferings", he said.

After the news conference, the Cambodian Embassy in Jakarta issued a press release saying that Mu Sochua was a fugitive from the law because a Cambodian court on October 2 had issued an arrest warrant against her for her allegedly seeking to overthrow a legally elected government.

Hun Sen's party went on to win every seat in parliament in elections held in 2018.

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