The Council of Ministers’ Press and Quick Reaction Unit (Press OCM) on Tuesday released a video calling Sam Rainsy a second Lon Nol and accusing him of having “crossed the red line of democracy”.
The “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) responded by saying the government was “afraid of his peaceful return” on November 9.
The video says Rainsy’s name should be engraved in modern Cambodian history as that of a traitor because he had “betrayed the nation and the throne”.
A 1970 coup saw Prince Norodom Sihanouk overthrown as prime minister with Marshall Lon Nol taking his place.
The Press OCM’s 23-minute documentary details Rainsy’s recent activities, accusing the CNRP co-founder of plotting a coup to overthrow both the government and King Norodom Sihamoni.
“Regarding coups in Cambodia, the convict Sam Rainsy is the second person after Marshal Lon Nol to dare to publicly denigrate the King through savage, insulting words that seriously affect the honour of the King,” the video says.
Rainsy’s betrayal of the monarchy, his first serious crime, follows in the steps of Lon Nol, who overthrew King Father Norodom Sihanouk on March 18, 1970, the documentary says.
“Sam Rainsy has completely and conclusively abandoned the path of democracy. He currently resorts to all-out violence by openly plotting a coup on November 9 – the final date – to overthrow the monarchy and the government. These are his most serious crimes,” the video says.
The video says Rainsy’s second serious crime was plotting to overthrow the legitimate government. It says Rainsy had called on the armed forces to defect with the declaration of a budget to support those who did so.
The video adds that Rainsy’s return to Cambodia was not for human rights or democratic reasons, rather it was part of a plot attempting to incite people and the armed forces into rebellion, drawing the nation into a violent revolution to overthrow the government.
Anyone supporting the plot, the video says, was also crossing the red line of freedom of expression and political rights and taking part in the coup.
Rainsy’s career in politics, it says, had ended because he had made several serious mistakes, the government had taken strict measures against him, and his support base had dwindled. By attacking the King he had now lost the only avenue left for having his convictions pardoned.
“The royal government has to destroy the leadership of the movement that plans to topple the monarchy and royal government, and which comes under the pretext of [the CNRP top leadership’s] return to restore democracy.
“Now the convict Sam Rainsy and his associates have crossed the red line of democracy and are implementing a coup,” the video says.
Rainsy told The Post on Tuesday that his return next month would usher in “people power”.
“The Hun Sen regime is just looking for a pretext to block my peaceful return, which they are afraid of.
“My repatriation on November 9 is intended to create ‘People Power’ in Cambodia on the model of the unprecedented and historic events that took place in the Philippines in 1986.
“People Power is not a ‘colour revolution’ nor a ‘coup’ as Hun Sen pretends. It’s an extraordinary gathering of millions of citizens who are denied the right to take part in a genuine election under a dictatorship and who, therefore, have no choice but to peacefully rise up to push for a democratic change in a non-violent and legal way by using their freedoms of expression and assembly.
“People Power is meant to force a dictator to step down and leave the country, as was the case with Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines in 1986. Hun Sen is expected to meet the same fate in Cambodia in 2019,” Rainsy said.
Political analyst Em Sovannara said Rainsy had crossed red lines when it came to Cambodia, but he was still able to carry out such activities abroad, such as in the US and France.
“[Such] politicians devote all their means to quarrelling at the personal level, rather than thinking about the interests of the nation,” he said.
It was too early to say whether Rainsy’s appeal to the armed forces to turn their guns on Hun Sen and for the people to rise up amounted to a revolution. Only real action would prove it to be so, Sovannara said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said the government should question whether it had itself crossed a red line of democracy, human rights and the rule of law when dealing with the demonstrations of January 2014.