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King pardons exiled prince

King pardons exiled prince

KING Norodom Sihamoni has issued a royal amnesty for Prince Norodom Ranariddh, after receiving a letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting that the monarch's half-brother be allowed to return to Cambodia from self-imposed exile abroad.

Ranariddh fled the country in 2007 after a Phnom Penh court found him guilty of embezzling funds from the sale of land belonging to Funcinpec, his former party, and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.

The amnesty, issued Thursday, came after the Prince wrote to Hun Sen following Wednesday's National Assembly inauguration, praising the efforts of the premier and requesting he  write the King on Ranariddh's behalf.

In a second letter to the King on Thursday, the Prince thanked him for granting him "full freedom to join in the development of the nation".

Norodom Ranariddh Party spokesman Suth Dina said that the Prince will arrive Sunday in Siem Reap, but said he does not plan to become actively involved in politics, allowing the new CPP-dominated government the opportunity to maintain political stability.

"The Prince wants to keep quiet at first because he does not want there to be irregularities of information," he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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