BANGKOK – An international human rights organization called Tuesday on Cambodia’s government to stop arbitrarily arresting and prosecuting political opposition members and to release those currently in detention.
Amnesty International said the government must stop detaining members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), of which it said dozens of former members had been imprisoned in the last four months, adding that many more had been targets of politically motivated charges.
“Since August, at least 41 former CNRP members have been jailed and 88 have been subject to politically-motivated charges including ‘plotting against the state’ and ‘attack’ for allegedly supporting the return to Cambodia of CNRP leaders living abroad,” Amnesty said in a Tuesday statement.
The organization further said most arrests had been carried out without warrants and without due process. The majority of detainees stand accused of supporting the return of Sam Rainsy, who announced he would go back to the country Saturday to mark Cambodia’s independence day.
The government – who has treated the exiled leader’s possible return as a coup attempt – has been accused of cracking down on his party and prompting him to flee in 2016.
Sam Rainsy was the only threat to Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985 and effectively leads a one-party state since the supreme court dissolved the CNRP prior to the country’s 2018 election.