Cambodia’s former opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, has accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of plotting a “massacre” after a leaked audio recording apparently showed the long-ruling former Khmer Rouge commander saying the opposition would be “destroyed” if the European Union removed the country from a preferential trade scheme.
Hun Sen has also instructed police to arrest Rainsy if he follows through on a pledge to return to Cambodia this year. Rainsy is wanted on treason charges for allegedly conspiring with the United States to overthrow Hun Sen. Sokha lives under house arrest as his trial progresses, but thus far no evidence has been publicized that supports the government’s claim.
International pressure has been mounting on Hun Sen following a widespread crackdown on the opposition, civil society and the media. Last week, the European Union announced it had launched a formal procedure that would see Cambodia withdrawn from its Everything But Arms preferential trade scheme if Hun Sen does not introduce reforms. The United States is also considering similar sanctions.