Kem Sokha, a Cambodian opposition leader on Sunday was released from house arrest more than two years he was first detained, according to a Phnom Penh court.
The easing of restrictions on Sokha comes just a day after Sam Rainsy, a co-founder of their now-banned Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP), flew into Malaysia from self-imposed exile in Paris, aiming to return to Cambodia.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court said in a statement that Sokha could leave his house, but that he could not engage in political activity or leave the country.
“Under the new requirements, he can travel anywhere but can’t leave Cambodia … This is because he has been cooperative with the authorities,” Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin said.
On Saturday, Rainsy arrived in Malaysia, making partial progress in his quest to return to his home country to lead a movement to try to oust long-serving Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Sokha was arrested for treason on September 4, 2017, in a move widely seen as being politically motivated. After a year in pre-trial detention, he was released on bail last September and placed under house arrest.
Cambodian authorities had on Saturday reinforced security along its border with military personnel, barbed wire and security controls.
Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng denied on Facebook that the opposition leader was not allowed to return, saying Rainsy and his colleagues may re-enter Cambodia but will face justice if they do so.
For decades, the 70-year-old has been an opponent of Hun Sen, 67, a former Khmer Rouge commander who has ruled his South East Asian country of 16 million people with an iron fist for 34 years.
In the weeks since Rainsy announced his plan to return, some 50 opposition activists have been arrested in Cambodia.