PHNOM PENH - Sam Rainsy, the exiled leader of Cambodia’s opposition, has written the prime minister seeking permission to return to the country to mourn the passing of the former king, “and see his face for the last time.”
Sam Rainsy is facing at least 10 years imprisonment if he returns to Cambodia, on charges related to destroying border markers near Vietnam in 2009.
He has claimed the charges against him are political and that a political solution will be possible for his return ahead of 2013 elections. Prime Minister Hun Sen has said otherwise.
In his Oct. 17 letter to Hun Sen, Sam Rainsy said he should be allowed to return in the spirit of reconciliation and national unity in the wake of Sihanouk’s passing.
“He can come as he wants,” government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told VOA Khmer Thursday. “But we cannot give any orders to the court.”
Political analyst Chea Vannath told VOA Khmer that the administration should consider amnesty for convicted people in exile, such as Sam Rainsy.
“The king father would have been pleased to see his children have unity, for his children to have mutual compassion, for his children to mutually forgive each other,” she said. “All of these are in the national interest, and all of these are for the Cambodians.”