Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sam Rainsy would be ‘beaten or killed’ if he ever returns

Sam Rainsy would be ‘beaten or killed’ if he ever returns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay. Hong Menea

Sam Rainsy would be ‘beaten or killed’ if he ever returns

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay has predicted that Sam Rainsy would be jailed, beaten or killed if he ever returned to the Kingdom as he has claimed he would.

However, this was disputed by Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute of the Royal Academy of Cambodia who refuted the last two predictions as “Cambodia practises the rule of law”.

Rainsy currently lives in France to escape a slew of criminal charges and court convictions filed against him by the government.

Speaking to The Post, Mong Hay was predicting what will likely happen to Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), if he ever set foot on Cambodian soil.

He said Rainsy would be treated no different from his CNRP co-founder, Kem Sokha, who spent months in Tbong Khmum prison before being allowed home on court-supervised bail.

Mong Hay said imprisonment was one of the three scenarios awaiting Rainsy if he followed through with his claims of soon returning to Cambodia.

“The second possibility is that Rainsy would be beaten like the Khmer Rouge’s head of state Khieu Samphan when he returned to Phnom Penh in 1991 and finally as a third prediction, he would be assassinated like former Philippine opposition leader Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino,” he said.

Mong Hay also compared Rainsy’s planned return to that of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was arrested in July last year for corruption. He said he wanted to see Rainsy actually return and the government provide for his safety should he do so.

“Sam Rainsy should prove himself a man of his word and return as he has promised. He should follow the example of Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan."

“Our government should do its primary duty to protect every citizen and give him effective assistance and protection so that he can return safely to his homeland,” Mong Hay said.

Nevertheless, he did not expect that the former CNRP president would return. “He has said that [he will return] many times but has never returned in the past when facing arrest and imprisonment."

Related Story: Sar Kheng: Only ‘fifty-fifty’ chance of Rainsy returning

“His predicament has not changed this time. And based on today’s situation in the country, it is even worse [for him] than before,” he said.

Rainsy vowed to return this year but did not reveal when exactly he planned to make his return.

Mao Monyvann, a former CNRP lawmaker who recently slammed Rainsy’s “acting president” title, on Wednesday welcomed his (Rainsy’s) self-proclaimed plan to return.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Former CNRP lawmaker Mao Monyvann welcomes former opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s self-proclaimed plan to return. POST PIX

“Now is the best moment if the former CNRP president returns to his homeland. It gives hope to the compatriots in the whole of Cambodia. I believe Cambodians will applaud him. The people are anxious to wait for his magnificent presence since he had decided to return to the country."

“As former deputy chief of the executive committee of CNRP, I would like to appeal to our Khmer compatriots who love the country and democracy to participate in large numbers [to welcome him]. It is a good time to rescue democracy in Cambodia,” he claimed.

Monyvann believed that Rainsy would not be arrested because his return would be supported by local and international communities. On the contrary, he said, if Rainsy delays his return, it would only make people lose hope in him.

Asked if Rainsy would be arrested and jailed or even killed, Monyvann said anything could happen, but it is reasonable for him to return. He said a large number of supporters would prevent bad things from happening.

“I believe there won’t be a big challenge for him. If they [authorities] take a risk to do something [like Lao Mong Hay] said, it would backfire on the leader [Prime Minister Hun Sen],” he said.

Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute said Mong Hay’s first prediction is absolutely correct on what would happen. Rainsy would be arrested if he returns because of law enforcement and due process.

“There are [guilty] verdicts from the courts, so the authorities will implement the court verdict, arrest him and put in prison far from Phnom Penh,” he said, adding that clashes would likely happen between the authorities and Rainsy’s supporters.

He said Rainsy would not be beaten or killed like Mong Hay said because the authorities would provide him with due safety, even though he was facing jail time. But he warned that the last two predictions could happen through a “third hand”.

“It is hard to predict. It could be the third hand who would do it [kill Rainsy]. It could be a foreign power that does it to turn the situation chaotic in Cambodia in order to achieve their political agendas,” he said.

In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Tea Banh on Wednesday condemned Rainsy’s activities abroad in calling on the international community to sanction Cambodia.

He said Rainsy cheated the international community by reporting to them that Cambodia was “miserable”.

“[He] shouts abroad and lies by saying that Oh! Cambodia is miserable, [it’s a] dictatorship, violates human rights, and pressure is necessary . . . everything. And [the international community] believes that [and says] Oh! it may be true, they just echo him,” Banh said.

He was speaking during the closing of a 2018 military training and the opening of the 2019 training and added that Cambodia had already experienced enough hardships without those like Rainsy making matters worse.

Banh also questioned the international community for believing Rainsy’s allegations that Cambodia has faced a setback in its democracy and human rights.

“I really wonder why they are cheated by a small group of people who keep cheating. I wonder how they could cheat them [the international community]."

“They said Cambodia was not democratic . . . Cambodia doesn’t respect human rights, and those people believe it. He said Cambodia must change. What will we change to become? We have democracy by organising elections which are never late. Wasn’t that democratic?” he asked.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Hun Sen: Cambodia set to fully reopen

    Prime Minister Hun Sen concludes that the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, during which many people either flocked to their hometowns for family reunion or gathered at tourist attractions across the country, has not caused an outbreak of Covid-19. In a special address to

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia resumes issuance of tourist visas

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has announced the resumption of its tourist visa and visa exemption programme after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter dated October 20 and addressed to foreign embassies and consulates, foreign minister Prak Sokhonn

  • S’ville set to turn into ‘second Shenzhen’

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance has awarded a master plan consultancy contract to top Chinese institute for the development and transformation of Preah Sihanouk province into a “Model Multi-Purpose Special Economic Zone”, Southeast Asia’s next logistics and resort hub and innovation centre. The