Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Saturday ordered officials across the Kingdom to keep an eye on former CNRP activists and members in order to thwart any plans being made during Pchum Ben in connection with a planned return of former opposition leader Sam Rainsy.
In a recording of his speech shared with media, Mr Kheng instructed Phnom Penh and provincial governors to keep an eye on former CNRP supporters at pagodas during Pchum Ben.
“I would like to inform all governors of Phnom Penh and provinces that a rebel group has asked their people to visit many pagodas during Pchum Ben days and it is a chance for them to meet up to discuss and lay out their dark plan,” he said. “I order all officers to go to the pagodas to make merits during Pchum Ben and also monitor the situation.”
The court-dissolved CNRP has announced that Mr Rainsy will return to the Kingdom on November 9 in a bid to restore democracy and human rights in the country.
Meanwhile, the National Police yesterday denied a right group’s claim that six former CNRP activists have been arrested for organising activities to support Mr Rainsy’s return to the Kingdom.
Soeng Sen Karuna, a senior investigator with Adhoc, yesterday claimed that six former CNRP activists were arrested over the weekend for supporting activities related to Mr Rainsy’s planned return.
He said three were arrested in Kandal and one each in the capital, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey.
Mr Sen Karuna expressed concern over the arrests, claiming they were a restriction on freedom of expression.
However, National Police spokesman Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun said no former opposition party members had been arrested over the weekend as claimed by Adhoc.
“I do not have any report related to the arrest of former opposition members,” he said.
Sok Eysan, spokesman for ruling CPP, yesterday said that police officials will only arrest people who violate the Supreme Court ruling against political activities by former members of the court-dissolved CNRP.
“They arrest people who break the law or violate the Supreme Court verdict,” he said. “Where is the restriction on the right of freedom? They are arrested if they violate the law.”
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath yesterday claimed authorities are cracking down on former activists and members of the CNRP involved with Mr Rainsy.
“I think the government is overreacting by pressuring former opposition party members and this will damage its reputation because the international community is watching the situation in the Kingdom,” he said.