Cambodia: academic faces arrest warrant, death threats from prime ministerEvent
- Initial Date
- Sep 17, 2021
- Event Description
Seng Sary. who had clarified that he does not support forming a government in exile but merely laid out hypothetical conditions for one, told RFA’s Khmer Service Monday it was a good sign that Hun Sen is listening to the opinions of analysts and intellectuals, but he did not feel completely safe yet.
“I have not seen the court drop my case yet, so it is difficult for me to decide whether I should return to Cambodia, because it has to do with my safety,” Seng Sary said.
“I hope I can get my charges dropped soon,” he said.
Seng Sary said he was fortunate to be in Thailand when Hun Sen ordered his arrest. Otherwise, he would never have been able to escape or explain to Hun Sen the meaning of his analysis.
“I hope that in the future, the head of government will more carefully consider posts on social media… Let the government have a high understanding of contradictory views or political views that people want express.”
Political analyst Kim Sok, who lives in exile in Finland, said that Seng Sary is right to remain in Thailand and act with caution about anything Hun Sen says.
“He did request that the court revoke Seng Sary’s arrest warrant, but who knows? When Seng Sary returns to Cambodia and if he is arrested, Hun Sen could say he only made the request to cancel the arrest order, but it is up to the court because the court is independent. So be careful with this game,” Kim Sok said.
RFA was unable to reach Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin for comment on Hun Sen's stance. The spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Plang Sophal was also not available.
Chak Sopheap, the Executive Director of the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, welcomed the suspension of the arrest warrant and urged the government to be more open to intellectuals and political analysts.
“There must be a guarantee of full freedom of expression, and there should be no indictment or arrest just because citizens are expressing their opinions,” she said.
Some Facebook users wrote in support of Hun Sen’s change of heart, while others pointed out that the Cambodian leader has broken promises to activists in exile, saying they could return to the country without fear of arrest, but arresting them anyway.
The exchange with Seng Sary came a little than a week after Hun Sen Hun Sen crashed a Zoom strategy session of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which Hun Sen had banned in 2017.
“I wanted to send a clear message to the rebels that there are people of Hun Sen everywhere,” the prime minister said of his intervention in the Zoom call.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Death threat
- Intimidation and Threats
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Academic freedom
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 17 September 2021, Dr. Seng Sary, Cambodian academic living in Thailand, was threatened with death by the Prime Minister while a court issued an arrest warrant as result of a political analysis on the hypothetical formation of a national reconciliation government in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.