News / Asia

Exiled Rainsy Accuses Cambodia of Pressuring Thailand to Deny Entry

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (2012 file photo).
Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (2012 file photo).
Daniel Schearf
Cambodia's exiled opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, has accused the government of pressuring Thailand into rejecting his entry into Bangkok.  Cambodian and Thai authorities deny any pressure.  But Rainsy says Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen is losing ground ahead of the July election and is doing his best to hinder the opposition.

Rainsy, who lives in in France, was scheduled to launch his autobiography  - We Didn't Start the Fire: My Struggle for Democracy in Cambodia - Wednesday night at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT).

He arrived in Bangkok Tuesday from South Korea but was met by immigration officials at the airport who said he could not enter until after July, when a national election in Cambodia will be over.

Rainsy left for Singapore and instead spoke to the FCCT via Skype.  He accused the Cambodian government of interfering or pressuring Thailand to keep him out.  He said the ban showed the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen was growing afraid of the opposition.

"I am Mr. Hun Sen's only credible challenger and he wants to win an election without any challenger.  It is like a boxer on [in] the ring.  He wants to box alone, whereas I should be boxing against him.  And, now he is even more afraid that I come too close to the ring," he said.

Rainsy has lived in self-imposed exile since 2005 to avoid an eleven year prison sentence for charges he says are politically motivated. 

Rainsy says in recent months he was welcomed by leaders in Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines but closer relations between Thailand and Cambodia, he says, seems to have created what he calls a "special problem."

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra revived warm ties with Cambodia established by her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. 

Thaksin also lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a politically-charged sentence at home.  But Rainsy noted, unlike himself, Thaksin is treated well in Cambodia.

"In Cambodia he was received by Mr. Hun Sen, even around election times in Thailand.  So, what I can notice, is that Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra, a good friend of Mr. Hun Sen, even a former advisor to Mr. Hun Sen, came to Cambodia very often, he was received with the highest honor," he noted.

Rainsy was banned from the July election but his Cambodia National Rescue Party will take part.

Cambodia and Thailand deny any pressure or conspiracy to keep Rainsy out. 

Thailand's Foreign Ministry said Rainsy's planned book launch, and meeting with journalists, just ahead of the election, were unacceptable political activities.

Ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said the actions were deemed detrimental to a friendly country and might affect Thailand's interests.

"The Thai authorities concerned deemed that such a visit with such activity has a political motive against a neighboring country and is timed especially during an approaching election in that neighboring country.  Accordingly, the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested immigration department to ban Mr. Sam Rainsy's entry into Thailand," said Srisodapol.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid