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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Arrests lead to sit-down request

Medical staff wave flags as King Norodom Sihamoni cuts a ribbon at the inauguration of an elderly care centre at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Medical staff wave flags as King Norodom Sihamoni cuts a ribbon at the inauguration of an elderly care centre at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday. Heng Chivoan

Arrests lead to sit-down request

Oppostition Cambodia National Rescue Party deputy president Kem Sokha is seeking a meeting with Interior Minister Sar Kheng following the arrest of three more CNRP activists this week.

Ou Chanrith, a CNRP spokesman, said the request was made on the sidelines of a ceremony to open an elderly care centre at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh yesterday, which was also attended by Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni, among other dignitaries.

“We would like to appeal [to the Cambodian People’s Party] to continue the culture of dialogue.

We want to meet and talk again about that agreement, because the agreement also stated that there would be a political resolution,” Chanrith said.

Just two days after Hun Sen called for more arrests over a July 22, 2014, Freedom Park protest that turned violent and resulted in dozens of injuries, on Tuesday and Wednesday three more CNRP activists were detained.

Yea Thong, 23, was detained on Wednesday, while Yon Kimhour, 28, and Roeun Chetra, 33, were arrested on Tuesday night.

They became the latest CNRP supporters to face charges over that day’s violence. Eleven other party members and activists, arrested months earlier, have already been sentenced to between seven and 20 years in prison for their supposed role in the “insurrection”.

Several opposition lawmakers, including Sokha, were also charged for their alleged involvement, but no legal action has been taken against them since the July 22 agreement last year that ended the opposition’s boycott of parliament.

Chanrith said Sokha yesterday met face-to-face with both Hun Sen and Kheng at the hospital ceremony, but only talked politics with Kheng, who he said did not give a definitive answer to the request.

Khieu Sopheak, spokesman for the Interior Ministry could not be reached. Suos Yara, a CPP spokesman, said the new arrests should not be viewed as increasing the political tension, as the “court procedures are independent”.

“The arrests are the court’s business, so if both leaders meet, they may discuss the interests of the country, but that is up to [Sar Kheng],” he said.

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