Cambodia detains another opposition member amid wider crackdown

Another Cambodian opposition figure was arrested this week, in what is seen as a wider crackdown, as a prominent exiled party leader pledged to return to the country in November despite government threats.

Nuth Pich, a former district official for the court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), was detained earlier this week in Kampot province while he was harvesting rice at his farm, his son Pun Theany told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

”When the police came to my father they asked him if any plot of land was for sale,” Theany said.

“He said there was no land for sale here, and after that they just arrested him without giving any reason or showing any arrest warrant.”

Theany said the police treated his father unfairly and brutally.

“They handcuffed him, pushed him to the ground, and took him to the district police barefoot,” he said.

Theany said the family has not been allowed to visit his father following the arrest on August 17.

On Thursday, Al Jazeera has learned that Choung Choungny, who often represents politically-sensitive cases, has been named as Pich’s lawyer.

Pich had been organising gatherings of opposition supporters.

Since the beginning of 2019, the authorities have summoned over 147 CNRP members and supporters around the country for questioning, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

On May 7, the police arrested another former Kampot provincial CNRP official, Nget Khouch and held him for two night, HRW also reported.

The CNRP party was dissolved in November 2017 for allegedly plotting to topple the Cambodian government with US support, although little evidence has been offered to substantiate the accusation.

Party president and co-founder Kem Sokha remains under house arrest after his September 2017 arrest for treason.

The dissolution came after the CNRP’s strong showing in the 2017 local commune elections, where they won 43 percent of the popular vote.


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Musitafa Kalyowa

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