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Hun Sen issues threat to dissident living in France

Sorn Dara has regularly attacked Cambodian govt in his TV program which has attracted thousands of viewers
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned a dissident living in France that he can sack members of his family with government jobs if he continues to criticize his leadership

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned a dissident living in France that he can sack members of his family with government jobs if he continues to criticize his leadership. (Photo: AFP)

Published: April 26, 2023 09:31 AM GMT
Updated: April 26, 2023 09:33 AM GMT

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned a dissident living in France that he can sack members of his family who work in the government if he continues to criticize his leadership.

Sorn Dara has attracted thousands of viewers with his television program, which is broadcast on Facebook from France, where he regularly attacks the Cambodian government in response to a long-running crackdown on opposition politicians and their supporters.

The attacks have upset the premier. Hun Sen has advised Sorn Dara “to become a smart person” and to respect his parents’ wishes by ceasing his attacks. 

“At any appropriate time, I will call your parents and your brother-in-law to meet. Do not forget I can fire them,” he told a graduation ceremony, according to a translation by the government mouthpiece, Fresh News.

Sorn Dara’s father Colonel Sok Sunnareth is a military officer and has publicly pleaded with his son to stop criticizing Hun Sen and his government. His sister-in-law works in the Interior Ministry.

Sorn Dara told Radio Free Asia, which is banned in Cambodia, that Hun Sen was using threats against political opponents as elections approach, adding, “I don’t want to be associated with my family. They are different from me.… No one can stop me from doing something.”

His latest threat against the family of Sorn Dara followed an initial attack earlier this year.

Hun Sen is paving the way for his eldest son, Hun Manet, to take over as prime minister after July 23 elections and has succeeded in silencing his critics through a crackdown based on lawsuits for defamation and allegations that they were attempting to topple his government.

However, that has not stopped his many critics abroad, particularly among the Khmer diaspora living in Western countries, and human rights activists from opposing his authoritarian style of rule.

Hun Sen also tried to sue Sam Rainsy, former leader of the outlawed Cambodian National Rescue Party, in the French courts for defamation but lost.

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