Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Sam Rainsy, 7 Other Senior Opposition Leaders

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Several senior CNRP leaders including Sam Rainsy, center-left, and Mu Sochua, center-right, in an undated photo posted to Rainsy’s Facebook page in early 2019.

A Cambodian court has issued arrest warrants for Sam Rainsy and seven other former opposition lawmakers for “plotting” and “incitement.”

Eight different orders—all dated March 12—were issued by Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Koy Sao to investigate and arrest the eight politicians for crimes allegedly committed in January.

Beside Rainsy, the party’s acting president, the arrest warrants were for senior party officials Eng Chhai Eang, Ho Vann, Men Sothavarin, Tok Vanchan, Long Ry, Ou Chanrith and Mu Sochua.

Rainsy is living in self-imposed exile in France due to previous arrest warrants, while the seven other former lawmakers have also been living abroad since the dissolution of the CNRP in November 2017.

The Phnom Penh Post reported in January that the eight oppositions politicians held a meeting in Lowell, Massachusetts on Jan. 21 to prepare for the return of Rainsy to Cambodia.

According to the Criminal Code, plotting an attack “liable to endanger the institutions” of Cambodia carries a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years if the perpetrator holds public authority. A direct incitement to “disturb social security” through a public speech or other communications is a crime punishable by six months’ to two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1 to 4 million riels ($250 to $1,000) where the incitement is ineffective.

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