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UN ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Deportation of Cambodian From Thailand

FILE PHOTO- Supporters of Prime Minister Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party dance under portraits of the party leaders, from left, Chea Sim, Hun Sen and Heng Samrin, during an election campaign in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Thursday, June 27, 2013.

The woman, Sam Sokha, was deported last week at the request of the Cambodian government and later charged with incitement.

The United Nations has said it is “deeply concerned” over the arrest and deportation from Thailand of a Cambodian woman who was allegedly filmed throwing her shoes at a poster of the leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

The woman, Sam Sokha, was deported on Thursday at the request of the Cambodian government and later charged with incitement.

In a statement issued on Friday, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said the organization “deeply regrets” her deportation.

Simon Walker, an OHCHR country representative, said the U.N. would continue to monitor Sokha’s case.

“OHCHR encourages an environment conducive to freedom of expression and public debate, in line with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Cambodia has accepted, particularly in the lead up to the national elections.”

On Friday, Human Rights Watch issued a statement calling on the government to immediately release Sokha, adding that her forced return to Cambodia violated international law.

Local rights groups also said Sokha’s arrest would place further pressure on Cambodians who dare to speak out against the regime.

Chin Malin, a justice ministry spokesman, could not be reached for comment.

Sokha’s arrest came days after Hun Sen warned the former opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, that he could be arrested if he traveled to Asia.

Last Thursday, a man from Kampong Cham province was arrested for insulting the CPP leadership on Facebook. The man, Sun Rotha, is alleged to control a Facebook group which regularly criticized the government over the dissolution of the CNRP.