Malaysia detains Cambodian opposition leader ahead of return from exile

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The Malaysian authorities have detained a senior Cambodian official who plans to join a mass return of exiled opposition leaders to Cambodia on Saturday, in what the Southeast Asian country’s autocratic leader has denounced as an attempted coup. 

Mu Sochua, 65, the vice-president of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), is being held at the airport in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, ahead of her bid to fly home to Phnom Penh with Sam Rainsy, the party’s founder, and other senior politicians and Cambodian supporters. 

The reasons for her detention have not been made clear. Ms Sochua was also recently refused entry to Thailand and Cambodia sought her arrest after a news conference in Indonesia on Wednesday, which was hijacked by its ambassador to Jakarta. 

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Ms Sochua said that she and fellow exiled CNRP leaders were ready to risk detention or death in returning to their homeland to try to peacefully restore democracy. 

Cambodia this week deployed troops along its borders and staged live fire drills in an apparent effort to intimidate the delegation. 

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