A Cambodian court on Thursday began its hearings in a macro-trial against about 140 opponents, including the former president of the banned Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP) Sam Rainsy, all of them accused of “conspiracy against the state” and other charges.
A total of 139 people have been charged in the framework of this process, although only 34 have appeared during the day before the court. Rainsy has not been among those who have appeared at the hearing, as reported by the Cambodian daily ‘Reaksmei Kampuchea’.
The spokesman for the Nom Pen Municipal Court, Kuch Kimlong, has stressed that the proceedings will be resumed on January 28, in a case that began as a result of Rainsy’s announcement about his willingness to return from exile to lead demonstrations that will overthrow the president , Hun Sen.
However, Rainsy was unable to fly to Thailand to later cross the border and had to go to Malaysia, without finally managing to enter Cambodia, amid Hun Sen’s allegations of an attempted coup.
The CNRP activist Kak Komfear, one of the defendants who has appeared in court, stressed that he supported Rainsy’s return to the country, although he has denied being part of a plot against the Government, as the German agency has collected news DPA.
Rainsy, founder of the CNRP, fled the country in 2016 following a criminal defamation conviction. He also faces a five-year jail sentence in a separate case. According to him, the charges are politically motivated. The opposition leader already promised to return to Cambodia in 2015 despite threats to arrest him, but he never did.
On his side, his successor at the head of the CNRP, Kem Sokha, is under house arrest in Cambodia after being charged with treason before the 2018 elections, a process that Western countries condemned as a “farce”.