Cambodia holds its breath as opposition chief vows return on independence day

'This may be the first time and the last time that you see me alive as a free man,' Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy says in a video before a risky attempt to return home

A sense of uncertainty looms over Cambodia on the eve of its independence day as it waits to see if its most prominent opposition leader will be able to return to the county after years of self-imposed exile.

Sam Rainsy, co-founder of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), earlier announced he was ready to risk his life and freedom to return home on Cambodia’s Independence Day on Saturday, November 9, to challenge Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s more than 3-decade rule.

“For those of you who don’t know me, this may be the first time and the last time that you see me alive as a free man. For those of you who know me, this may just be the last time you see me as a free man…. I am prepared to sacrifice my freedom – and even my life – to give democracy a chance, to help ensure freedom for my unfortunate people,” Rainsy said last October 31 in a video recorded from his home in Paris where he resided for years.

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