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Authorities Consider Public Palace Viewing of ‘King Father’

PHNOM PENH - Fifteen days after the passing of former king Norodom Sihanouk, Royal Palace officials have not determined whether they will let common Cambodians view his body in state.

Thousands upon thousands of Cambodians have made their way to the public grounds in front of the palace in Phnom Penh, but only public officials have been allowed inside the grounds to mourn the former monarch, who died in Beijing after a heart attack earlier this month.

Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said authorities are determining how best to provide safety and security to the throngs of people who would likely enter and exit the palace for a viewing.

Meanwhile, exiled opposition leader Sam Rainsy has remained out of the country, unable to pay his respects.

A second exile, Moeung Son, the head of the Khmer Civilization Foundation, who is facing two years in prison on charges of defamation for publicly criticizing the Apsara Authority, said he also would like to return.M

oeng Son told VOA Khmer he wants pardoned for the alleged crimes in order to return and build a health care center near the border temple of Preah Vihear, “following the king father’s advice.”