Cambodian PM threatens opposition with jail ahead of election

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan 19 (EFE).- Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened the leaders of the main opposition Candlelight Party with legal action, implying imprisonment, in a speech aired up by the local media.

“Your group deserves to be in prison, I tell you. You cannot escape it,” Hun Sen said referring to Kong Korm, a leader of the Candlelight Party charged last week for criticizing the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Hun Sen’s statements come at a time of increasing harassment of opposition parties and months ahead of the general elections on July 23, in which the prime minister – in power since 1985 – will seek to a fresh term.

The Candlelight Party is expected to be the only major opposition party at the elections.

During a speech at the inauguration of a hospital in Phnom Penh, the prime minister threatened the Candlelight Party with legal action for claiming the CPP was threatening them following the arrest on Monday of Thach Setha, the party’s vice president, for a check bounce case.

“You cannot issue a statement blaming the ruling party for threatening you. Be careful or the CPP will file a lawsuit,” said Hun Sen, according to Cambodia’s VOD digital newspaper.

“There are only two options, one is using the courts, and the other is to go to their homes and attack them. (…) Which way do you prefer among the two?” he added.

Hun Sen also issued veiled threats against named and unnamed opposition leaders and their families.

“One person, your wife and your children are in Phnom Penh. Don’t be foolish. I’m not using your wife and children as hostage, but you should not go too far,” he said. EFE


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