Cambodian opposition leader says to return on Friday
PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Cambodia's newly pardoned opposition leader said on Saturday he would return from exile on July 19 to join his party's campaign to defeat Prime Minister Hun Sen in upcoming elections.
Mr Sam Rainsy, who lives in France, had faced 11 years in jail after he was convicted in absentia for charges that he contends were politically motivated, including publishing a false map of the border with Vietnam.
The French-educated former banker - who worked with global finance giant Paribas in the 1980s - was pardoned by King Sihamoni on Friday at Mr Hun Sen's request.
"I will arrive at Phnom Penh International Airport on Friday, 19 July, 2013 in the morning at 9:05 on a Thai Airways flight," Mr Rainsy wrote on his Facebook page, in a post that was widely shared and received thousands of "likes".