Cambodia starts release of opposition activists

Prisoners are mostly supporters of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was forcibly dissolved in 2017.

The first of 70 political prisoners ordered to be freed by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen have begun leaving jail, in a relaxing of tensions after leaders of the opposition party failed to return to the country to lead protests as promised a week ago.

“There are over 70 people, please hurry up work on this case so that these brothers can be released on bail,” Hun Sen said in a speech inaugurating a cement factory in Kampot on Thursday.

The prisoners are mostly members of the forcibly dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) who were arrested for supporting the return of party founder Sam Rainsy – which Hun Sen had labelled a coup attempt. Rainsy, party Vice President Mu Sochua, and others planned to return to Cambodia by land via the Thai border but were denied entry to Thailand earlier this month.

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