Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week issued multiple arrest warrants against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy and seven other people charged with conspiracy to treason and incitement.
In a statement issued by the court on Tuesday and obtained yesterday, Judge Koy Sao issued eight warrants for Mr Rainsy and the seven who fled overseas in the wake of the CNRP being dissolved in 2017.
The seven are Eng Chhai Eang, Mu Sochua, Ou Chanrith, Ho Vann, Long Ry, Men Sothavrin and Tok Vanchan.
All eight, including Mr Rainsy, were charged with conspiring and inciting to commit crimes in accordance with articles 453, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code.
Mr Rainsy, who is currently in exile in France, is facing a slew of charges, including incitement, over statements made criticising the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Judge Sao said in the court statement that the latest crimes allegedly took place both within and outside of the Kingdom in January.
“Because they are not in the country, I would like to order for their arrest so that they may face the court,” Judge Sao said in the statement. “I order that the authorities conduct an investigation and capture them.”
Brigadier General Y Sok Khy, director of the counter terrorism and cross border crime department at the Interior Ministry, yesterday said he has evidence that the eight posted on social media urging people to stand up against the government.
“I filed reports to the court on March 12 after I had gathered enough evidence,” Brig Gen Sok Khy said. “Yes these are new crimes that they committed early this year.”
National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said yesterday that police have enough evidence to file the latest charge.
“There are clear facts to prove that they committed the crime,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said. “Police have clear reasons to request the court to charge them.”
“I cannot elaborate as this case is currently being investigated,” he added.
Mr Chhai Eang and Mr Ry yesterday took to Facebook to say that the charges are presents from Mr Hun Sen for the upcoming Khmer New Year in April.
Yesterday, Mr Rainsy held a press conference in the US state of Massachusetts in order to form a new committee in charge of Mr Rainsy’s safe return to the Kingdom at some point this year.
“The reason why I wanted to return to the country is that I want to take back the Kingdom for Cambodian people,” he said. “I go back to find ways and have the country escape from international pressure, although [Mr Hun Sen] said it’s not a problem.”