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Former Opposition Officials Will Be Held Accountable for Actions of National Rescue Movement: Minister

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, second from right, talks with Sar Kheng, right, deputy prime minister and minister of Ministry of Interior, as they wait to attend the Independence Day celebrations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017. Some hundreds of civil servants and students gathered to mark the country's 64th Independence Day. The country gained independence from France on Nov. 9, 1953. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Interior Minister Sar Kheng comments came after the country’s top military police official labeled the CNRM a terrorist group.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng has announced that the leadership of the now-defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party will be held accountable for the actions of a new political movement formed by one of its ex-presidents, even if they do not publicly support the movement.

Kheng told an annual meeting of local government officials in Battambang province on Tuesday that the creation of the Cambodia National Rescue Movement by Sam Rainsy, the former CNRP president living in exile in France, was illegal.

He added that both Kem Sokha, the CNRP president who was jailed last year on treason charges and has not supported the creation of the CNRM, as well as other former CNRP officials, could face legal action if the movement breaks the law.

Sokha and his followers have not supported the CNRM.

“Whether they participate or not, they are part of the same illegal group... for the ones who do not participate, they think one day that the CNRP will be resurrected, which is also illegal,” Kheng said.

His comments came after the country’s top military police official, Sao Sokha, labeled the CNRM a terrorist group.

Meas Ny, a political analyst, told VOA Khmer on Wednesday that the government was treating recent developments as a political crisis and thus saw its reactions as justified and outside of the normal legal procedure.

On Sunday, Rainsy posted on his Facebook page saying that the CNRM had established a clandestine “network” throughout the country, which would work in secret to avoid repression by the authorities.