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Opposition Leader Meets German Officials

Sam Rainsy meets with Dr. Norbert Lambert, president of Parliament of Germany.
Sam Rainsy meets with Dr. Norbert Lambert, president of Parliament of Germany.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy made a two-day visit to Germany this week in search of support for a return to Cambodia.

Sam Rainsy is facing 12 years in prison if he returns to Cambodia, on a series of charges stemming from his contention that Cambodia is losing land to Vietnamese encroachment.

Observers say it is increasingly unlikely a legal resolution will allow him to return ahead of elections in 2012 and 2013 and that a political solution must be found instead.

Sam Rainsy met with several senior officials, including the president of German’s parliament, Norbert Lammert.

Sam Rainsy told VOA Khmer he had raised the issues of land grabbing and fraudulent elections as areas of concern for Germany.

“Once an election is filled with fraud and voters cannot change their leaders because their dictatorial leaders have stolen the election results…this leads to a loss of trust in the elections,” he said in a phone interview. “Once people are frustrated, the only way out for them is through popular uprisings. This is what [German officials] don’t want to see.”

Sam Rainsy, who visited the US on a similar trip last month, has warned that social injustice like poverty, corruption, land grabs and the restriction of freedoms has the potential to cause unrest similar to that which Arab states are currently facing.

However, Cambodia’s ambassador to the US, Hem Heng, told VOA Khmer this was a “bad intention.”

“Right now Cambodia has achieved national unity, peace and security for economic development,” he said. “If we wants Cambodia to be like some countries in the Middle East, it means he wants Cambodia to plunge into Hell again.”

Hem Heng said Cambodians are tired of war, and he characterized popular uprisings as “undemocratic.”