Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Orders Release of More than 70 Opposition Activists

Dozens Were Arrested Ahead of Return of Self-Exiled Opposition Leader Sam Rainsy

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has ordered the release of more than 70 opposition activists who had been arrested for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.

The Prime Minister has been under pressure to improve his human rights record with the EU threatening to withhold important trade benefits.

In a recent speech, Sen called urged the judicial authorities to fast track the cases against the suspects. “There are over 70 people, please hurry up work on this case so that these brothers can be released on bail,” he said.

Cambodian authorities arrested several ahead of last Saturday’s return of veteran opposition leader Sam Rainsy from self-imposed exile in France.

Rainsy flew to Malaysia before proceeding to Indonesia on Thursday. His deputy Mu Sochua was denied entry into Thailand last month.

Rainsy and Sokha co-founded the outlawed Cambodia National Rescue Party before fleeing the country to escape charges.