Cambodian opposition leader stopped from returning home

PARIS — Cambodia’s most prominent opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, was stopped from boarding a flight in Paris on Thursday in his attempt to return home to challenge his country’s longtime autocratic leader, but he assured his followers he will go ahead with his plan.

He and fellow leaders of the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party had vowed to enter Cambodia from Thailand on Saturday to spark a popular movement to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen from power.

When Sam Rainsy tried to take a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok from Paris, where he lives in exile, Thailand’s carrier told him ‘‘they had received from very high up the instruction to not allow me to board.’’


Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Wednesday that Sam Rainsy would not be allowed to enter Thailand because members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have a policy of not interfering in the affairs of neighboring countries.

Hun Sen had declared that Sam Rainsy would be blocked from entering Cambodia and had informed neighboring countries that they were unwelcome.