The United States on Friday, November 8th expressed its concern over the arrest of Cambodian political opposition leaders abroad, Reuters reported. The United States was "deeply concerned by the recent expanding series of arrests, harassment, and intimidation of members of the Cambodian political opposition and by efforts to thwart the return to Cambodia of citizens seeking peaceful participation in the political process," a US embassy spokesperson said. She added that these actions represented an escalation in the suppression of political opposition.
Meanwhile, the human rights group, Amnesty International, denounced cooperation by Malaysia and Thailand in preventing foreign-based Cambodian opposition figures from returning home to rally support against the government.
Exiled Cambodian opposition politician, Sam Rainsy, was prevented from boarding a flight to Bangkok from Paris on Thursday, November 7th. Rainsy had vowed to return to Cambodia on Saturday, November 9th to lead demonstrations against the authoritarian leader, Hun Sen, who has ruled Cambodia for more than three decades. But Hun Sen has promised not to allow Rainsy to return home and has sought support from regional neighbours to thwart the opposition's plans.
Earlier on Thursday, Malaysian authorities detained Mu Sochu, the deputy chief of Cambodia's banned opposition party, after Phnom Penh accused her of seeking to return home to conduct a coup against Prime Minister Hun Sen.
In Cambodia itself, at least 48 opposition activists have been arrested in 2019 since Sam Rainsy announced his plans to return on November 9th, Cambodia's independence day, to rally opposition against the prime minister. Hun Sen has described the planned return of opposition leaders abroad as a bid to stage a coup d'etat.
Kem Sokha, the banned Cambodian National Rescue Party's leader, remains under house arrest after being charged with treason in 2017.