Acting Cambodia Opposition Chief Sam Rainsy Walks Back Plan to Return From Exile Next Month

Acting opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) President Sam Rainsy has walked back plans to return to Cambodia from self-imposed exile by late next month, but said he plans to travel there before “the end of the year,” despite the threat of prison.

Sam Rainsy left Cambodia in late 2015 to avoid what are seen as politically motivated convictions on defamation and other charges, but has continued to actively shepherd the CNRP in exile. In early June, he announced that he had agreed to return to the country by September, following a decision by fellow party executives to go home to restore democracy in the authoritarian Southeast Asian country.

Last week, top-ranking officials with Cambodia’s security forces said they were arranging the deployment of authorities to all border checkpoints in anticipation of Sam Rainsy and other senior opposition leaders in exile, with orders to arrest them and escort them to jail.

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