PHNOM PENH , Sept. 25 KYODO
Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni on Thursday granted amnesty to Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in jail for breach of trust. The amnesty paves the way for the prince to return home any time he wishes to do so. According to a royal decree signed Thursday by the king, the amnesty was made following a request from Prime Minister Hun Sen. Suth Dina, spokesman of the Norodom Ranariddh Party, said the prince will arrive in Cambodia on Sunday and is planned to meet with reporters on Oct. 2.
Ranariddh, 64, who has lived in self-imposed exile for nearly two years and is currently in Malaysia , was not available for comment. Ranariddh, a former prime minister and a son of retired King Norodom Sihanouk, was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in jail by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in March 2007 for breach of trust in connection with the sale of his former party's headquarters. The prince had acknowledged the sale of FUNCINPEC's headquarters in Phnom Penh to a private company for $3.6 million in 2005, but claimed it was done with the consent of the party's members. Ranariddh was a president of the royalist FUNCINPEC until he was ousted in 2006 by the party. After his ouster, the prince turned the property into the headquarters of his newly found Norodom Ranariddh Party. Ranariddh and Hun Sen were co-prime ministers from 1993 until the prince was ousted by Hun Sen in 1997.
KyodoSeptember 25, 2008