Cambodia’s Sam Rainsy says Thai Airways blocked his trip home on orders ‘from very high up’

The self-exiled opposition leader was intending to return to Cambodia to lead rallies against strongman Hun Sen via a transit through Thailand

Cambodia’s self-exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who has vowed to return home to lead demonstrations against authoritarian rule, said on Thursday he had been prevented from boarding a flight from Paris to Bangkok.

The apparently blocked flight came a day after Malaysia detained Mu Sochua, the vice-president of Sam Rainsy’s banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), at a Kuala Lumpur airport, before releasing her 24 hours later.

Strongman Hun Sen, who has been in power since 1985, has characterised the returning opposition figures’ planned rallies as an attempted coup.

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