Cambodian opposition leader denied entry to Thailand

Cambodian opposition leader denied entry to Thailand

An exiled Cambodian opposition leader was denied entry into Thailand on the weekend, ahead of her planned return to Cambodia early next month, a rights group told Reuters on Wednesday.

Mu Sochua, vice president of the banned opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday afternoon, Human Rights Watch told Reuters.

She "was stopped at Thai Immigration for several hours, and finally denied access to Thailand", the rights group said, adding that she was allowed to book a flight to return to the country she had arrived from.

It was unclear why Sochua was denied entry. Thai police had not responded to a Reuters' inquiry.

Reuters had also contacted Sochua and the Cambodian government for comment.

The incident came ahead of a planned return of exiled opposition leaders, including Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua, to Cambodia on Nov 9, the country's Independence Day, to rally support against Prime Minister Hun Sen's regime.

CNRP founder Sam Rainsy fled to France four years ago, following a conviction for criminal defamation in which he was ordered to pay US$1 million in compensation. He also faces a five-year prison sentence in a separate case.

Last month, Cambodia arrested six political activists for alleged plots to rally in support of Rainsy if he returns, bringing the number of activists for the banned opposition party who have been detained this year to at least 30.

Critics have described Cambodia as essentially a one-party state since the Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP in late 2017, months before elections last year in which longtime Prime Minister Hun Sen's party won all of the seats in parliament.

CNRP leader Kem Sokha has been detained for two years, the past year under house arrest, while awaiting trial on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

Do you like the content of this article?

Fewer restrictions

Third-stage easing of the business and activity lockdown begins on Monday, when curfew hours are also reduced.


Climate change forces Sami reindeer herders to adapt

ÖRNSKöLDSVIK, Sweden: Once, the lynx, wolverines and eagles that preyed on their animals were the main concern for reindeer herders as they moved them to find food in the winter.


Indonesia rolls out public shaming for virus violators

BENGKULU, Indonesia: Indonesian officials are forcing social distancing violators to recite Koran verses, stay in "haunted" houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging coronavirus infections.