Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Breaking: Rainsy travel ban lifted



Breaking: Rainsy travel ban lifted

Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, seen in an undated photo posted along with his announcement that he had resigned from the CNRP.
Former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, seen in an undated photo posted on his Facebook page.

Breaking: Rainsy travel ban lifted

The Council of Ministers issued a letter this morning to lift the travel ban on former opposition president Sam Rainsy, eight months after the government formally banned airlines from flying him into the country.

Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since November 2015 following the issuing of a warrant for his arrest. The ban was formalised by an October 12, 2016, Council of Minister’s letter warning airlines against allowing him to board a flight headed to the country.

Border checkpoints and other ports of entry were also put on alert to prevent a Rainsy return.

The June 14 letter is addressed to National Police chief Neth Savoeun and head of Immigration Department Sok Phal asking that the letter banning Rainsy’s entry be cancelled on the orders of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“The government has decided to cancel the 12th October, 2016, letter of the Council of Ministers on the case of Sam Rainsy,” the letter reads. The letter makes no mention of Rainsy’s numerous prior convictions.

Sok Phal said he had received the letter and that his department would implement it but said any questions relating specifically to the airline ban should be directed to the State Secretariat for Civil Aviation.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan and ruling party spokesmen could not be reached this morning.

CNRP deputy president Mu Sochua welcomed the move today. “Any measure taken to respect the constitutional rights of Sam Rainsy as a Cambodian citizen is welcomed. He has a right to come back,” she said, adding that Rainsy had expressed his intent to come back to the country last night on a Radio Free Asia broadcast.

In the interview, Rainsy called on Prime Minster Hun Sen to allow airlines to bring him back to the country, saying he wanted to take on the premier in next year’s national elections.

“Please, Mr. Hun Sen be brave and do not prevent me from competing with you like boxers [in a ring],” he told RFA’s Chun Chanboth.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Immigration Department’s Sok Phal could not be reached this morning. It has now has been updated. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

MOST VIEWED

  • Seven positive for Covid-19, Hun Sen confirms local transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that there has been local community transmission of Covid-19. However, he urged the people not to panic even though the Ministry of Health announced the discovery of seven new cases on Sunday. Among the victims are Chhem Savuth, the director-general

  • Cambodia at ‘most critical moment’, Hun Sen warns

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the first community transmission of Covid-19 in Cambodia has led the country to the “most critical moment” that warranted urgent, large-scale operations to contain the pandemic. Hun Sen, who confirmed the first local transmission on November 28, said the source of

  • PM confirms community transmission, calls for unity

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the public to stay calm, unite and follow the Ministry of Health guidelines after the wife of a senior official tested positive for Covid-19 in the Kingdom’s first case of community transmission. The case has drawn criticism

  • Over 110 garment factories close

    A government official said on November 22 that at least 110 garment factories had closed in the first nine months of the year and left more than 55,000 workers without jobs – but union leaders worry those numbers could be much higher. Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training undersecretary

  • Singapore group seeks $14M in damages from PPSP over ‘breach of contract’

    Singapore-based Asiatic Group (Holdings) Ltd is seeking a minimum of $14.4 million relief from Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone Plc (PPSP) for allegedly breaching a power plant joint venture (JV) agreement. Asiatic Group’s wholly-owned Colben System Pte Ltd and 95 per

  • PM vows to protect Hun family

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has vowed to continue his fight against opposition politicians who he said intend to smash the Hun family. Without naming the politicians but apparently referring to former leaders of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen said there