Indonesia bars Cambodia's Rainsy from flight to Jakarta: airline

Rainsy said he planned to return on Independence Day in what Prime Minister Hun Sen characterised as an attempted coup.

    Sam Rainsy has vowed to return to his home country but some nations appear unwilling to allow him to fly [Charles Platiau/Reuters]
    Sam Rainsy has vowed to return to his home country but some nations appear unwilling to allow him to fly [Charles Platiau/Reuters]

    Malaysia Airlines said on Wednesday it had barred veteran Cambodian opposition figure Sam Rainsy from a flight from Kuala Lumpur to the Indonesian capital Jakarta on the instruction of Indonesian authorities.

    Rainsy later said on Twitter he missed his flight and would try to get another Malaysia Airlines flight to Jakarta on Thursday.

    Rainsy, who lives in self-imposed exile in France, has been in Malaysia since the weekend after initially saying he planned to return home on Saturday to rally opposition to Cambodian authoritarian ruler Hun Sen.

    "Malaysia Airlines denied boarding of the said passenger under the instruction of the Indonesian authorities," Malaysia Airlines said in a statement in response to a question as to whether Rainsy had been stopped from boarding.

    Asked about the Malaysia Airlines statement, Sam Fernando, the Indonesian Immigration Directorate General spokesperson, said "from the immigration's side, there has not been a request to deny his entry here".

    Denny Abdi, director of the Southeast Asia division of the Indonesian foreign ministry said: "We are not aware of him coming to Jakarta."

    Rainsy had said he planned to return to Cambodia on Saturday, Independence Day, in what Prime Minister Hun Sen characterised as an attempted coup against his rule of more than three decades.

    But Rainsy was blocked in Paris from boarding a Thai Airways flight to Bangkok last Thursday. He then flew to Malaysia, saying he wanted to rally support for the Cambodian opposition in the region.

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    SOURCE: Reuters news agency