Rainsy Returns, Not Concerned About Safety

Opposition party leader Sam Rainsy returned to Cambodia Wednesday from Paris, saying he is not worried about retribution for a small but internationally-noticed demonstration his supporters held last month during Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit there.

Hun Sen, after meeting with donors, was forced to remain in the World Bank’s Paris offices for more than half an hour as protesters threw eggs at his entourage.

Sam Rainsy Party officials here said they feared attacks against their members after the demonstrations, but Sam Rainsy said it is customary for Westerners to throw “eggs and tomatoes” at their political opponents.

“Eggs are nothing compared to grenades,” he said, referring to the 1997 grenade attack that killed at least 16 and wounded scores of demonstrators. He has alleged the attack was carried out by Hun Sen supporters.

The opposition leader also has clashed with authorities over a memorial stupa placed near the site of the 1997 attack.

Sam Rainsy said he was generally pleased with the results of the donor meeting, at which $548 million was pledged to Cambo­dia.

He refused to comment on the pending extradition of party activist Sok Yoeun, due for release from a Thai jail this month. He is threatened with prosecution in Cambodia for his alleged role in a 1998 Siem Reap rocket attack that Hun Sen supporters claim was an assassination attempt. Party officials say Sok Yoeun has been granted safe passage to a third country as a political refugee, but won’t say where. “I will wait until he is in a safe place before making any comment,” Sam Rainsy said.

He also said he was disappointed with the pace of developments in the National Assembly on the proposed trial plan for former Khmer Rouge leaders.

“Why wait for Sok An to come and give his view?…We should discuss the law immediately…if there is no pressure, no initiative, we could wait forever,” he said.

 

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