Crackdown in Cambodia Ahead of Planned Return of Opposition Leader

Cambodian authorities have launched a crackdown on activists in a move observers say is an attempt to intimidate opposition supporters ahead of the planned, but uncertain return next month from self-exile of Sam Rainsy, the acting head of the now-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, and other opposition leaders.

Rainsy, who faces a range of charges and convictions in absentia and multiple arrest warrants, and others who fled the country following the 2017 dissolution of the CNRP, plan to return Nov. 9, which is Cambodian Independence Day and the anniversary of the day the Berlin Wall fell.

According to a CNRP list, as of midday Oct. 9, 37 activists affiliated with the party and former officials have been arrested this year and placed in pre-trial detention. Thirteen of those were arrested in September. Since then, four more members have been arrested.

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