USA to deny visas to Cambodian officials over opposition crackdown

Last month, Cambodia's Supreme Court outlawed the CNRP and banned more than 100 of the party's politicians from practising politics.

The State Department said the restriction of "those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia" was a direct response to recent "anti-democratic actions".

A lawyer for Cambodia's military has filed a lawsuit against former opposition leader Sam Rainsy a day after the prime minister said he should be charged with treason.

Hun Sen - who has ruled the Kingdom for more than 30 years - is presiding over what many have claimed is a crackdown against political opposition ahead of elections in 2018.

Cambodian officials hoping to travel to the U.S. may be in trouble after the Trump administration announced Wednesday it will restrict visas to those found to be "undermining democracy", and simultaneously called upon the Cambodian government to reverse their decision to suppress the nation's main opposition party.

Mu Sochua is the Vice President of the Cambodian National Rescue Party, which has been disbanded under an internationally condemned ruling by Cambodia's Supreme Court. "In certain circumstances, family members of those individuals will also be subject to visa restrictions", it added. He has rejected the accusation as a political ploy.

In August, the United States imposed visa restrictions on Foreign Affairs Ministry officials over the government's alleged lackluster cooperation in repatriating Cambodian nationals convicted of crimes. "This statement shows that the United States is destroying democracy", government spokesman Phay Siphan told Reuters, saying that the actions against the opposition had been legal and took place through the courts and parliament.

Prime Minister Hun Sen took issue with the post.

Sam Rainsy, who stepped down as leader of the CNRP this year in what turned out to be a futile bid to forestall a ban on his party suggested in a video posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday that soldiers would not obey orders to shoot civilians.

Sam Rainsy has been in self-imposed exile since late 2015 to avoid a deferred two-year prison sentence for criminal defamation.

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