Self-exiled Cambodian opposition figure boards flight from Paris

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Exiled Cambodian opposition party leader Sam Rainsy was blocked in Paris on Thursday and his deputy detained in Malaysia as they tried to fly home despite arrest threats from Cambodia's leader Hun Sen.

Sokha was released under conditions that he does not leave the country, does not engage in politics and must respond to any summons, Phnom Penh Municipal Court said in a statement.

He told Radio Free Asia that November 9 was "not the final day for repatriation to Cambodia" but a new step in his struggle to save the CNRP and democracy in Cambodia.

Sam Rainsy greets supporters after arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia on Saturday.

In what may be a possible turnaround in the Cambodian government's position, its influential deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sar Kheng, said on his Facebook page Saturday, "As of now, there is not any announcement by the Cambodian government to bar culprit Sam Rainsy and his colleagues from entering the country".

Asked whether he planned to return to Cambodia he said: 'I can not say anything.

Mr Hun Sen, 67, a former Khmer Rouge commander, has ruled the country of 16 million for more than 34 years with an iron hand and a wily ability to play off his opponents against each other and sow division among them.

"Keep up the hope". We are on the right track, ' Rainsy said on arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a message to supporters.

"Democracy will prevail. Democracy has prevailed in Malaysia".

Rainsy welcomed Ken Sokha's release from house arrest, but said all charges must be dropped and the party reinstated.

Mr Rainsy fled to Paris in 2015 after a conviction for criminal defamation and faces a five-year sentence in a separate case. He says that the charges were politically motivated. In preparation for any unrest, Cambodia's military has mobilized on its borders and near airports. Plans to enter via Thailand were shot down earlier this week by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who said Sam Rainsy would not be permitted in the country.

Angry mob 'cruelly' humiliates town's mayor in violent street attack
Election observers from the Group of American States (OAS) expressed their concerns and an audit by the physique is now underway. She was dragged and forced to walk barefoot through the town by the mob, before being rescued by police on motorcycles.

"But the Royal Government of Cambodia has also announced the right to take legal action against any actions that attempt to undermine peace, social stability and security of the state".

Police with assault rifles massed at the Poipet border crossing with Thailand on Saturday, local time.

The Special Rapporteur's comments came a day after the US embassy in Phnom Penh expressed support for the "reopening of political and civic space" and called for a "peaceful and inclusive process of national reconciliation in order to restore the genuine multiparty democracy and better respect fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Cambodian constitution". He had yet to speak to Kem Sokha, he said.

"You can see the intimidation, the harassment, the crackdown, the arrests".

More than 50 more people have been arrested in recent weeks since Rainsy said he planned to return home from self-exile in France to rally opposition to Mr Hun Sen.

It is unclear how he would get back to the country and for now he plans to meet with Malaysian lawmakers this week.

His opposition party has been outlawed giving the government full control of the Cambodian parliament.

Pressure has been mounting, especially from the European Union, on the Cambodian authoritarian leader Hun Sen, who has been ruling the country with an iron fist, since 1985. Malaysia and Thailand have both hindered the free movement of opposition party leaders, drawing criticism from human rights groups. "More countries in ASEAN need to emulate Malaysia going forward if the bloc is ever going to shake the moniker of being primarily a dictator's club".

The CNRP had been viewed as Cambodia's only serious opposition before it was dissolved by a court in 2017 ahead of elections the following year. He could face arrest amid a crackdown at home on members of his banned party and Malaysia's detention of two party activists also trying to return.

In the 2013 general election, they came within just seven seats of victory over the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

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