Fringe political party leader and accused terrorist Sourn Serey Ratha yesterday urged the government to annul its ban on opposition leader Sam Rainsy’s return to Cambodia, saying authorities should be encouraging him to return if he is truly guilty of crimes.
Serey Ratha, who had himself been living in self-imposed exile until last October, when he was pardoned for the crime of threatening to overthrow the government, said by telephone yesterday that a ban on Rainsy’s return was counterintuitive.
“If Sam Rainsy is guilty and he comes, arrest him and jail him,” Serey Ratha said. “Do not use crazy politics and order the air companies not to transport Sam Rainsy to his homeland . . . and threaten the airlines to transport Sam Rainsy back to the original airport.”
Rainsy went into self-imposed exile in Paris in November after the courts issued a warrant for his arrest for a two-year jail sentence. The Council of Ministers and Interior Ministry this month then ordered he not be allowed to return by any means.
Serey Ratha, who is the leader of the Khmer Power Party, which was considered a terrorist movement by the government until shortly before his return, also said the ban contravened the Constitution, which explicitly prohibits the exiling of citizens.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan again de-clined to comment on the October 12 directive.