Foreign-based members of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement have said they committed to their activities, despite being branded illegal, faced with a lawsuit from the government, and compared to the terrorist group ISIS.
Former CNRP vice president Eng Chhay Eng, who has fled the country, said in an interview with Radio France Internationale that he wasn’t surprised what the government had done to dissolve support for the opposition since September last year.
He added the CNRM had a commitment to advocate overseas in order to help the now dissolved CNRP join the upcoming general election and to release former president Kem Sokha and other political prisoners.
“We use our rights as stipulated in the constitution as well as guaranteed in the Paris Agreement, the UN’s charter. So our activity complies with national and internal laws,” Mr Chhay Eng said.
“We are still continuing our activities because we are the victims.”
The Interior Ministry last week filed a complaint against the five people who instigated the establishment of the CNRM.
The names mentioned in the lawsuit include former CNRP leader Sam Rainsy, his wife Tioulong Saumura, Kem Monvithya, the eldest daughter of Mr Sokha, and two former deputies, Mr Chhay Eng and Mu Sochua.
Meanwhile, Mr Rainsy is continuing his activities in Australia, to gain support and explain why he founded the new movement.
Local organisation Housing Rights Task Force issued a statement yesterday, saying its executive director, Sia Phearum, had resigned for personal reasons.
Mr Phearum joined the CNRM upon its official launch in California last month. He could not be reached for comment.
“It is the use of his political right and doesn’t involve the organisation,” read the statement.
Sam Vichet, acting executive director of HRTF, could not be reached for comment.
According to local news, Hun Manet, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Infantry Unit, who attended an inauguration ceremony for a road in Siem Reap province, yesterday warned against joining the movement.
“There are hundreds of politicians but there are millions of people so don’t let a small group of politicians lead the country into war, which will destroy the lives of people like in the past,” he said. Sok Eysan, spokesman for the ruling CPP, said the movement’s overseas activity was clear evidence of them trying to instigate a “colour revolution”.
“The more they act, the easier it will be for the court to find them guilty,” he said.