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Int’l support strong for jailed activists: CNRP

CNRP activists leave Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June last year after attending a hearing.
CNRP activists leave Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June last year after attending a hearing. Pha Lina

Int’l support strong for jailed activists: CNRP

The CNRP hopes pressure by the international community will help free 15 of its members imprisoned in cases widely believed to be politically motivated, an opposition spokesman said yesterday after visiting the detainees.

Cambodia National Rescue Party spokesman Yim Sovann told reporters outside Prey Sar prison that the diplomatic community was pushing “very hard” to free the men.

Noting efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit in late January, Sovann said he believed that there would be a solution “soon”.

“[Kerry] met with a [CNRP] delegation and told us he would try very hard to help find a resolution,” said Sovann, who also acknowledged lobbying by the EU and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a group with representatives from 167 parliaments.

However, ruling Cambodian People’s Party spokesman Sok Eysan dismissed any prospect of a deal, describing the cases as legal, not political. “The [CNRP] say that they are political prisoners, but the [CPP] say they are jailed politicians,” Eysan said.

US Embassy spokesman Jay Raman said that the embassy “continues to be concerned about politically motivated prosecutions in Cambodia and regularly raises those concerns with the relevant Cambodian authorities”.

Sovann also discussed the results of a Tuesday vote on the party’s structure. Results saw lawmaker Son Chhay declared an administrator, with Ou Channith named a deputy. Ky Vandara and Keo Phirum were named secretary-general and deputy secretary-general, respectively, while Lim Bun Sidareth was named treasurer.

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