Cambodia Court Charges Sam Rainsy, Eight Other Opposition Officials, With Plotting ‘Coup’

A court in Cambodia on Thursday charged nine senior officials from the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), including acting president Sam Rainsy, with “attempting to stage a coup” in connection with the party chief’s plan to return to the country from self-imposed exile in November.

“The plan [for Sam Rainsy’s return] is a criminal act that carries a punishment of between five and 20 years,” the Phnom Penh Municipal Court said in a statement issued through the office of its spokesperson, announcing the charges.

The court also charged the nine CNRP officials with “intention to commit armed rebellion” as part of Sam Rainsy’s stated intention to lead a “restoration of democracy” through peaceful protests in Cambodia when he returns on Nov. 9, to coincide with the 66th anniversary of the country’s independence from France.

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