Prime Minister Hun Sen has allowed exiled government critic Lu Lay Sreng to return to the Kingdom before the Khmer New Year after his request.
On Friday, Mr Lay Sreng, 85, posted a Facebook video clip asking for a pardon from Mr Hun Sen, whom he had previously worked with as former deputy prime minister.
Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh on Monday, Mr Hun Sen asked Mr Lay Sreng to return home without fear of any arrest.
“Please come [Mr Lay Sreng] but other people cannot do so,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Mr Lay Sreng admitted what he said was wrong.
“Please Samdech, help me return home as what I said was wrong,” he said. “I worked with Samdech for three mandates.” Mr Lay Sreng said posted a video clip.
“I really miss my compatriots and my country,” he said.
During the wake of the dissolution of the CNRP in November 2017, Mr Lay Sreng alleged that Mr Hun Sen offered Funcinpec party officials $20,000 each to fill former CNRP seats in the National Assembly.
After hearing that legal complaints were being filed by Mr Hun Sen and Funcinpec party members, Mr Lay Sreng fled the country.
In January last year, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Mr Lay Sreng in absentia of defamation and ordered him to pay $125,000 to Mr Hun Sen and an additional $2,000 fine to be put in the state’s coffers.
Mr Lay Sreng still has legal troubles; Funcinpec officials filed a complaint against him for accusing Prince Norodom Ranariddh of taking bribes from provincial governors.