CNRP President Sam Rainsy did not return to Cambodia from exile to attend the cremation of his mother-in-law on Sunday after his letter asking Prime Minister Hun Sen for permission to return went unanswered, a CNRP spokesman said.
Nhiek Tioulong Measket Samphotre died at her Phnom Penh home on Thursday at the age of 96.
Mr. Rainsy, who faces two years in prison and a raft of lawsuits in Cambodia and was barred from entering the country last month, wrote to Mr. Hun Sen asking to attend her cremation unmolested and promising to leave the country afterward, according to the CNRP.
On Sunday, party spokesman Yim Sovann said Mr. Rainsy decided not to enter Cambodia because the letter had gone unanswered.
“Sometimes we give too much consideration to political matters,” Mr. Sovann said. “Based on sentiment, he should have been allowed to attend the funeral.”
He said the cremation took place at Phnom Penh’s Wat Svay Pope on Sunday morning. Sok Eysan, a spokesman for the ruling CPP, said he was not aware of any letter from Mr. Rainsy reaching the prime minister.
If the opposition leader does manage to return to Cambodia, he added, he should head straight to Prey Sar prison.
“Everything is ready,” he said.