World Bulletin / News Desk
The Cambodian government has threatened to blacklist a prominent human rights activist over comments he made last week on the death the ruling party’s longtime president Chea Sim, according to local media Monday.
The activist, Brad Adams, serves as the director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division and has been a longtime bugbear of the Cambodian government.
Following Sim’s death June 8, Human Rights Watch issued a strongly worded statement accusing the late leader of complicity in serious crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime.
“Chea Sim’s passing is a reminder that virtually all former Khmer Rouge officials have gone unpunished for the millions of deaths and incredible suffering of ordinary Cambodians during Khmer Rouge rule,” Adams was quoted as saying in the statement.
Chea Sim had joined the revolutionary movement as a young man and rose to serve as a district secretary before defecting to Vietnam in 1978.
He returned at the head of an invading army that ousted the genocidal regime in 1979, and became a major political force in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia.
Although he was not a senior regime leader, Human Rights Watch researchers say he was responsible for arbitrary arrests and executions in his district.
Khieu Sopheak, a spokesman for the country’s Interior Ministry said that Adams would be “entered into the blacklist of Cambodia” unless he apologized for his remarks, The Cambodia Daily reported Monday.
Sopheak also wrote directly to Adams June 13, saying that the campaigner had “deviated far from moral principles and brought shame to Human Rights Watch.”
“For future, if the director continues to adopt this non-neutral position and tendency which negatively impact Cambodian society, I think that you should [n]ever enter Cambodia again,” the letter concluded.
Adams has frequently incurred the wrath of the Cambodian government for his strident critiques of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party, which has maintained a strong hold on power for decades.
In 2009, a government spokesman called him “a bogus human rights activist” who was an underground member of the Cambodian opposition, according to the Daily.
In 2012, Cambodia’s ambassador to the UK issued a statement condemning an editorial Adams had written about the country’s long-ruling premier, Hun Sen, calling it “scurrilous,” “poisonous,” and “a waste of space.”
The government has proven particularly sensitive about accusations from Human Rights Watch and Adams that it is deliberately stalling or impeding the work of the UN-backed tribunal in Phnom Penh where two senior Khmer Rouge leaders are currently on trial.
In its statement last week, Human Rights Watch repeated the accusation, saying that Chea Sim’s death underscored the failings of the court.Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Haziran 2015, 14:59