Pardoned from a Cambodian prison, this political activist eyes a return

“To really have democracy and fair elections in Cambodia, if I don’t continue, who will do it if I don’t do it?”

Long Beach, Calif. — Meach Sovannara didn’t know it, but the last time he would see his family for three years was before boarding a plane bound for Cambodia in the summer of 2015.

A political activist, Meach had traveled to his home country from the United States before. But he returned in 2015 to be tried for his participation in a 2014 demonstration where he gave a speech about freedom of speech and democracy, he said. The protest became violent, Reuters reported, and Meach was arrested and imprisoned for five months before being released on bail in April 2015.

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