The Foreign Affairs Ministry has revoked the passports of 12 former opposition party officials, noting that they have either been charged or convicted of attacks against state institutions or conspiracy linked to Sam Rainsy’s coup plot.
Those whose passports were invalidated are former CNRP vice presidents Mu Sochua and Eng Chhai Eang, as well as senior officials Ho Vann, Long Ry, Sor Chandeth, Kong Saphea, Vann Narith, Dang Chamreun, Nhim Kimnhol, Yisa Osman, Heng Danaro and Morn Phalla.
Koy Kuong, ministry spokesman, yesterday said that it sent out letters last Wednesday to all ambassadors to Cambodia, as well as its diplomatic and consular missions abroad notifying that the passports of the 12 individuals should be considered null and void.
“These  people were already convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and they fled the country for exile overseas using Cambodian passports,” he said. “We invalidated their passports so the authorities of the countries they are now residing in must deport them back to Cambodia unless they hold dual citizenship.”
Spokesmen of several foreign embassies in Cambodia could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Sochua, who also holds a United States passport, said in a Facebook post last week that the government has violated the constitution regarding the right to identify as a citizen by having the passports revoked.
“We are not afraid. [The government] used to hurt us. We almost lost our lives and we had been placed in jail for years,” she said. “What we are concerned about now is whether the status of the EBA will be maintained.”
Amnesty International issued a statement last week that it had seen documents revoking the passports and called for the government to end the harassment, intimidation, arrest and detention of Cambodians linked to the former opposition group.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the government has never prevented Rainsy and his colleagues from entering the Kingdom, adding that the government still respects and upholds the Kingdom’s constitution steadfastly and respects all the people’s rights equally.
He said the armed forces were deployed along the Cambodian-Thai border during Independence Day and the Water Festival in order to thwart any hostile activities that undermine peace and security for the people.
Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun, National Police spokesman, yesterday said police will only arrest former opposition supporters and officials who take part in Rainsy’s coup plot.
“Our police enforce the law and comply with arrest warrants issued by the courts,” he noted. “Those who confess to having supported the former opposition group but denounce the plot will not be arrested.”
“As far as I know, more than 400 ex-CNRP supporters and officials have declared they will not join Rainsy,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun added.