Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rainsy addresses supporters, heads to France

Rainsy addresses supporters, heads to France

CNRP leaders Kem Sokha (centre left) and Sam Rainsy (centre right) meet with party officials last week in Manila to discuss action plans for the current political climate in Cambodia.
CNRP leaders Kem Sokha (centre left) and Sam Rainsy (centre right) meet with party officials last week in Manila to discuss action plans for the current political climate in Cambodia. Photo supplied

Rainsy addresses supporters, heads to France

Leaders of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party yesterday made a video appeal from the Philippines urging supporters not to waver ahead of upcoming elections, even as party president Sam Rainsy returned to France, where he has spent years in self-imposed exile in the past.

In a video recorded during a meeting with senior CNRP lawmakers in Manila on Saturday and posted on Rainsy’s Facebook page yesterday, Rainsy and deputy president Kem Sokha told supporters to refrain from violence following an arrest warrant and court summons being issued against Rainsy by a Cambodian court.

The two veteran politicians said the CNRP’s stance remained unchanged.

“Even though there were some recent political events that have changed things, our stance and goals remain the same. Our resolve and commitment is still the same.

We want to bring change [to Cambodia] and this change will come through peaceful elections,” Rainsy said. “Our position is one of non-violence and dignity to lead people towards prosperity.”

On Friday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court issued a new summons to the embattled opposition leader, this time in connection with the case of jailed Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour.

Sok Hour was taken into custody on August 15 after Prime Minister Hun Sen called for his “urgent” arrest for posting a “fake” portion of a 1979 Cambodia-Vietnam border treaty on Rainsy’s Facebook page.

The summons came after Rainsy postponed a planned return to Cambodia on November 16 after a warrant was issued for his arrest over a defamation ruling stemming from comments he made in 2008 regarding Foreign Minister Hor Namhong’s role at a Khmer Rouge prison in the late 1970s, for which he could face a two-year jail term.

He has since gone on record repeating the allegations that Namhong was a “kapo” in the Boeung Trabek camp and was responsible for many deaths.

Both Rainsy and Sokha will not be returning to the Kingdom any time soon.

Rainsy yesterday boarded a flight to France and Sokha is headed to the United States, according to party spokesman Yem Ponharith, who said they would be attempting to seek political support.

Rainsy spent nearly four years in self-imposed exile in France to avoid being jailed on charges relating to the removal of markers along the Vietnamese border. He returned ahead of elections in 2013 as part of a political deal.

Rainsy on trial: view an interactive timeline of the opposition leader's ongoing legal battles

But CPP spokesman Sok Eysan scoffed at the thought that the two leaders would be able to garner interest in their cause.

“It’s their habit to run to America and to the European Union. I think [world leaders] won’t have time for them because of the threat of ISIS . . . I don’t think they care about [the CNRP].”

Ponharith of the CNRP, however, said that it was important for the leaders to meet with the international community “to explain the current situation and express their desire for political stability so that peaceful elections can be held”.

Meanwhile, two opposition lawmakers who were badly beaten last month outside the National Assembly during a protest by CPP supporters calling for Sokha’s resignation as deputy leader of parliament announced they plan to return to Cambodia tomorrow following weeks of medical treatment in Thailand.

Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were seriously injured in the October 26 attack, with Chamroeun yesterday saying that he had recovered “about 50 per cent”.

“My rib cage is still painful, but it’s got a bit better. My head has improved a bit but it still hurts a lot,” he said yesterday.

Early this month, three members of the military were charged with the pair’s assault, though several more assailants could be seen on video taking part.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports