Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - CNRP meetings ‘banned’ in Kampong Chhnang

CNRP meetings ‘banned’ in Kampong Chhnang

Opposition leader Kem Sokha campaigns in Kampong Chhnang province in the lead-up to the June commune elections. Opposition officials in Kampong Chhnang say they have been barred from meeting since Sokha’s arrest on Sunday.
Opposition leader Kem Sokha campaigns in Kampong Chhnang province in the lead-up to the June commune elections. Opposition officials in Kampong Chhnang say they have been barred from meeting since Sokha’s arrest on Sunday. Facebook

CNRP meetings ‘banned’ in Kampong Chhnang

Opposition members in Kampong Chhnang say they have been banned from meeting since the arrest of CNRP leader Kem Sokha on Sunday, with the provincial police chief yesterday saying he would “not allow” the party to “discuss politics”.

Keo Tha, provincial CNRP executive committee chief, said many communes were meant to have regular scheduled party meetings in the last few days, but were banned by police from gathering, even at their own party’s office or at a home.

He said the restrictions began just after Sokha was arrested during a raid at his home early on Sunday morning after a years-old video, in which he discusses assistance from the US in planning his political career, resurfaced online.

Sokha was officially charged with treason on Tuesday.

“I think that the situation is very severe in Cambodia, especially at the local level,” Tha said, adding that members can’t even meet for regular party affairs, such as making reports about problems within their communes and discussing voter registration.

“We ask civil society groups and the government to reconsider [their actions], and stop the restrictive measures to ban the processes of the CNRP at the local level,” he said.

Cheang Sarun, recently elected as the CNRP’s Popel commune chief, said police banning their meetings was in violation of the right to peaceful assembly, which is guaranteed under the Cambodian Constitution.

“Kampong Chhnang Deputy Provincial Police Chief Sum Socheat told the CNRP to stop gathering party members in public places and at the party’s office because they were afraid we would talk about Kem Sokha,” he said.

Mao Phally, the CNRP chief of Ponlai commune, said during a recent monthly CNRP meeting in Boribor district, Socheat took the opportunity to inform members not to get involved with Sokha’s case.

“Do not think about it, and just do your work normally and firmly. Do not allow meetings or discussions about Kem Sokha,” he said Socheat told them at the time.

Socheat yesterday said the opposition wasn’t barred from meeting for routine business, but insisted they were not allowed to gather to discuss Sokha.

“If the opposition party group gathers and discusses Kem Sokha, they will be banned – we do not allow them to discuss politics,” he said, without offering a legal rationale.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said what police were doing was “intimidating rather than law enforcement”.


  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15