Germany suspends visas for Cambodian govt members over crackdown


Phnom Penh: Germany said on Thursday it has suspended preferential visas for private travel by members of Cambodia’s government, including Prime Minister Hun Sen, following a government crackdown on the opposition. The visa suspension is the latest action taken against Hun Sen’s government by a Western country following the dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), Hun Sen’s main rival, by the Supreme Court last year.
The CNRP was dissolved at the request of the ruling party, which had accused the CNRP of plotting to topple the government. The CNRP has denied the charge.
Rights groups say Hun Sen and his allies have escalated intimidation of their opponents ahead of elections this year and accuse them of misusing the justice system to prosecute critics and force independent media outlets to shut.
The European Union said in December it had suspended funding for Cambodia’s 2018 general election because it did not view an election without a main opposition party as legitimate.
A spokeswoman for Germany’s Foreign Office said Germany has suspended preferential visas for Cambodian government members.