Cambodia PM vows to 'eliminate' opponents who protest against govt crackdown

Hun Sen says the foreign countries had no right to criticise his administration.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen vowed on Monday to "eliminate" his opponents if any one of them plans to protest against the ongoing government crackdown that has sparked international alarm.

This is the latest of the Hu Sen's strongest comments that have worsened the political tensions in the kingdom that is scheduled to hold national elections in 2018.

Hu Sen's administration has been accused by the rights groups for arresting scores of critics and tying up other opponents in legal cases.

Kem Sokha, the deputy leader of the main opposition party has been holed up for weeks in his office, sleeping on a makeshift bed.

Earlier this month, Sokha was handed a jail sentence for refusing to appear in court over an alleged sex scandal prosecution which, the opposition says, is politically motivated. The other party members have threatened to hold nationwide protest movements if steps are taken to arrest Sokha or the if the crackdown continues.

"Don't threaten (me) with demonstrations in exchange for talks. No way, youngest brother!," Hun Sen told AFP on Monday.

"This is not just a warning, it is more serious than a warning because it is an order to eliminate those who destroy security and social order," he added.

Hun Sen also said that foreign countries had no right to criticise his administration.

Last week, a joint statement was issued by a group of 36 states, including the European Union and the United States saying they were "deeply concerned" about the rising political tensions in Cambodia.

Hun Sen has dominated Cambodian politics for the past 31 years. His administration claims that it has brought peace and stability to the nation which was once ravaged by civil war.

But in recent years, the opposition parties have gained ground in the nation. The country has been going through a lot of issues such as growing disillusionment with endemic corruption, rights abuses and political repression.

Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the opposition accuses Hun Sen of rigging the 2013 election in his favour. They said Hun Sen denied the opposition party's majority, however, the premier denies the charge.

Sam Rainsy, CNRP's top leader, Hun Sen's chief rival, has spent nearly one year in self-imposed exile only to avoid arrest warrants which he claims are politically motivated.

Apart from Rainsy, many opposition figures, including two MPs, are currently in prison facing charges. Over the past one year, more than 20 political activists and rights workers have also faced legal action.

On Monday, four land activists were jailed for six months each for apparently insulting public officials during a protest movement in 2011.