Sam Rainsy Party Activist Will Be Released

Sam Rainsy Party activist Sok Yoeun will be released Thursday from a Thai jail, opposition officials said.

Sok Yoeun was jailed more than four years ago in Thailand, where he fled to escape charges that he aided the 1998 rocket attack on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s motorcade in Siem Reap town that killed one bystander.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy will travel to Bangkok this week to greet Sok Yoeun upon his release, said party secretary-general Eng Chhay Eang, who will accompany him.

“Justice must win at last,” he said Tuesday.

Hun Sen said last month he  had dropped his request for Sok Yoeun’s extradition for trial in Cambodia out of a humanitarian streak he shared with King Noro­dom Sihanouk. The announce­­­ment drew praise from human rights advocates who said Sok Yoeun was a political scapegoat.

Sok Yoeun and 13 relatives now in the custody of the UN High Commissioner of Refugees in Thailand have applied for asylum in Finland, where his wife and children currently live. Om Sara, an advisor to Eng Chhay Eang, said it is still unclear whether UNHCR will grant that request.

But government spokesman Khieu Kanharith warned Sok Yoeun against returning to Cam­bodia. Charges are still pending, though the extradition request was dropped, he said.

“We don’t drop the prime minister’s complaint, so if Sok Yoeun comes back we will [arrest],” Khieu Kanharith said.

“So long as he lives abroad the government will let him be,” he said.


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