Phnom Penh (FN), Sept. 19 – Government spokesperson Phay Siphan said Thursday that the Royal Government can not please the US State Department’s request to release activists of the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party.

“We do not have the power to please the US’s request, as we could not meddle into the court’s affairs,” Siphan stated in the press conference held today at the Council of Ministers.

“The US has not understood clearly the balance of power in Cambodia,” he added.

Siphan clarified that Prime Minister can use the privilege to request for amnesties or releases only after the court finished its procedures.

Siphan’s statement was made in response to the request made by US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

“The United States is concerned about Cambodian government’s continued political repression of former Cambodia National Rescue Party members, including the recent arrests of several former CNRP activists,” Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Twitter, following the arrests of six activists of the dissolved CNRP on 14 September 2019, allegedly charged with conspiring and inciting for social insecurity.

She also called for the release of former CNRP leader, Kem Sokha.

Unfortunately, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia is compelled to respond to the statement of the spokeswomen of the US State Department on 10 September 2019 urging, among other things, the Royal Government of Cambodia to drop all charges against Kem Sokha, according to the statement dated Tuesday, 10 September.

“Since 9 September 2018, Kem Sokha was already released for humanitarian reason to remain in the comfort of his home with his family under court surveillance. Like other civil law countries, Cambodia's judicial procedure does not provide for a maximum period for a case under court surveillance,” the statement said.

“We wish to remind that the failed attempt to push for regime change through undemocratic means is not the exercise of fundamental human rights and democracy. The Cambodian government is within its sovereign rights to take the necessary legal measures against individuals and entities who violated the Cambodian Constitution and other laws currently in force in order to protect its national security and the rule of law,” the statement continued.

“Cambodia urges foreign politicians and administrations to adhere to the rule-based multilateralism and the basic norms governing international relations, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter, to respect Cambodia's sovereignty and show utmost restraint from interfering in Cambodia's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights and democracy.”