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Rainsy seeks youths’ release

Following Tuesday’s swearing in of the 55 elected opposition lawmakers at the Royal Palace, Cambodia National Rescue Party president Sam Rainsy yesterday wrote to Interior Minister Sar Kheng to seek the release of three party members jailed over their alleged involvement in a violent protest last month.

In the letter to Kheng, Rainsy invoked the “spirit” of the agreement reached on July 22, which ended the 10-month political deadlock and paved the way for the CNRP to end its parliamentary boycott.

“In the spirit of the joint political resolution reached to end the tense situation . . . Hun Sen helped to intervene for the release of the [CNRP] lawmakers-elect,” Rainsy wrote, referring to seven elected lawmakers who were jailed after a July 15 protest at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, where several irregular security forces were attacked.

“I would like His Excellency to help intervene for the release of three [CNRP] activists, who were arrested by the authorities,” he added.

Kheun Chumreuon, head of the CNRP’s youth wing in Phnom Penh, was arrested and sent to Prey Sar prison on Saturday along with San Kim Heng, youth wing chief in Tuol Kork district, and Neang Sokhun, Chbar Ampov district youth movement treasurer.

Sam Sok Kong, a lawyer representing the three suspects, said he had yet to get a response to a Monday request for his clients’ release on bail.

Neither Kheng nor Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak could be reached for comment yesterday.

The CNRP’s lawmakers are due to attend the first session of parliament since last year’s election on Friday, when they will sign off on amendments to the internal rules of the National Assembly, according to ruling Cambodian People’s Party lawmaker Cheam Yeap.

In his second speech in as many days, Hun Sen yesterday sought to quash speculation that his eldest son, Hun Manet, would be granted a cabinet position in the run-up to the next election in 2018.

“I have five children and five children-in-law. All of them have possessed degrees ranging from bachelor’s degrees to doctorate’s degrees, but I cannot include them as members of the government’s cabinet,” he said.

“I can arrange for others’ competent children to hold this position or that position, but I cannot appoint my own children to those posts,” he added.

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