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Gov’t confirms deported activist’s blacklist status

Gov’t confirms deported activist’s blacklist status

Expelled Spanish environmental activist Alex Gonzalez-Davidson has been blacklisted and will be barred from returning to Cambodia, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said yesterday.

Gonzalez-Davidson, whose campaigning against the planned Stung Cheay Areng hydropower dam in Koh Kong drew the ire of authorities, was deported on Monday after the government refused to renew his visa.

Speaking at a seminar on child sexual exploitation at the Sokha Phnom Penh hotel, Kheng said authorities had “no choice” but to expel the Spaniard after he refused to leave when his visa expired.

Kheng claimed authorities had tried to reassure Gonzalez-Davidson that he would be allowed to return to Cambodia if he left prior to his visa expiring, but the authroities weren’t believed. “If he had followed [our advice], he would not have been blacklisted and he could have come back at any time,” Kheng said.

Kheng maintained the decision to deport Gonzalez-Davidson had nothing to do with this activism. Speaking to the Post after his deportation, Gonzalez-Davidson vowed to return.

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