Cambodian Exile Return Bid Crashes Into Visa Hurdle

The attempt nonetheless succeeded in drawing international attention to the repression inside the country.

The latest effort by exiled Cambodian politicians to return to the country has failed, at least for now, after a senior member of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was refused permission to board a flight in Los Angeles.

Mu Sochua, the deputy president of the CNRP, is one of a group of exiled opposition politicians who were trying to get back to the country next week to defend themselves against inflated charges of incitement and treason. They are among an estimated 130 opposition activists and dissidents facing a mass trial in the capital Phnom Penh, which opened on January 14.

“I demand a fair trial,” she told Australia’s ABC network last week. “We cannot let [Cambodian Prime Minister] Mr Hun Sen use the court as his weapon to eliminate the opposition and activists who dare to stand up [and] speak out against the gross violations of human rights in Cambodia.”

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