US ‘deeply concerned’ by Cambodia’s suppression of opposition

Hun Sen rival Sam Rainsy boards plane to undisclosed destination.

The U.S. State Department expressed concerns Friday over Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s efforts to keep political rival Sam Rainsy from reentering the country, while the self-exiled opposition leader boarded a plane in Paris to an undisclosed destination.

“We are deeply concerned by the recent expanding series of arrests, harassment, and intimidation of members of the Cambodian political opposition and by efforts to thwart the return to Cambodia of citizens seeking peaceful participation in the political process,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement, calling such efforts “an escalation in suppression of the political opposition.”

Sam Rainsy, a co-founder of the court-disbanded Cambodia National Rescue Party who had vowed to return to Cambodia on Saturday along with other party leaders to stand up to Hun Sen’s three-decade rule, said Thursday that he was blocked from check-in at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport for a Thai Airways International flight scheduled to arrive in Bangkok on Friday morning.

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