Cambodian senator in exile in Sweden returned home

Thak Lany speaks to villagers on a field trip on 2016. Photo: Khmertimes

Former senator from the Sam Rainsy party, Thak Lany, who was pardoned in March, has returned to Cambodia after years of living in exile.
Lany came through the Poipet International Checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province on Friday 14 May 2021.

Upon arrival in Poipet city, Lany reportedly said that she was thrilled to return to the country after being homesick and thanked Prime Minister Hun Sen for his leniency towards her, According to Khmertimes‘s report.

Lany was sued by Mr Hun Sen’s lawyer in August 2016. She was living in Sweden, where she has been granted political asylum.

In July 2016, Lany held a public forum at her house in Ratanakiri province’s Lumphat district where she was filmed reportedly accusing Mr Hun Sen of killing political commentator Kem Ley.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court handed down Lany a sentence of 18 months in jail in absentia in November 2016 after she was found guilty of defamation and incitement.

The court also issued a warrant to apprehend her at the time and ordered her to pay a fine of around $2,000 and give 100 riel in symbolic compensation to Mr Hun Sen.

In August 2017, the Appeal Court upheld the municipal court’s verdict.

On March 3, acting head of state Say Chhum signed a royal decree, pardoning Lany who was sentenced to 1 year and six months in jail according to the final verdict dated February 26, 2018.

Lany could not be contacted for comment yesterday but her former lawyer Sam Sokong hailed her return, saying that as a former politician, Lany could either choose to re-enter politics or stay out of it.

“If she chooses to go into politics again, it will good for her because she was a former politician. If she chooses not to do so, it is her choice.”

Sokong said that he has yet to meet Lany since her return.

About Zazithorn Ruengchinda

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok Thailand

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