Officials could not confirm Monday whether Prince Sisowath Thomico will return to Cambodia this weekend with King Norodom Sihamoni and his parents, retired King Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Norodom Monineath.
The prince fled the country on Oct 18, the day before the Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged him with defamation in relation to a lawsuit lodged against him by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Municipal Court Deputy Prosecutor Nget Sarath said at the time that the court had issued a summons calling for the prince to appear in court for questioning.
Nget Sarath said Monday that he was not aware of any arrest warrants being issued for Prince Thomico and referred questions to Investigating Judge Iv Kim Srie who could not be reached for comment.
The prince could not be reached by e-mail and his current whereabouts are unknown. Norodom Sihanouk said earlier this month the prince had gone to China at the behest of his “substitute” mother, Queen Monineath.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak would not say what would happen if the outspoken prince returned to the country with the royal family this weekend.
“We follow the court’s direction,” Khieu Sopheak said but would not elaborate.
Norodom Sihanouk’s official biographer, Julio Jeldres, wrote in an e-mail Monday that he was not aware of King Sihamoni’s reported plans to return to Phnom Penh on Saturday or Sunday and did not know if Prince Thomico was also planning to return.
In comments broadcast on radio Saturday, Co-Interior Minister Prince Norodom Sirivudh announced that the royal family would be returning from Beijing this weekend.
Several Royal Palace officials also reported they did not know if the prince was scheduled to return.
“This is a sensitive issue,” said Oum Daravuth, Queen Monineath’s cousin and King Sihamoni’s cousin. “But I do not know anything about it,” he said.