Cambodia tells US not to interfere over Thach Setha arrest

Phnom Penh irritated by calls for stronger democracy ahead of polls.

Cambodia’s foreign ministry has told the United States embassy in Phnom Penh not to interfere in its internal affairs following the arrest of opposition politician Thach Setha and the embassy’s calls for a more open society ahead of national elections.

Thach Setha, vice president of the Candlelight Party, has been charged with embezzlement, passing a bad check and failing to appear in court. But he is also one of three senior party figures charged in recent weeks and one of the hundreds of dissidents to appear in courts in recent years.

“The best way to ensure independence for a small country like Cambodia is not to interfere in internal affairs or to support one side against the other,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, translated by local media.

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