Immigration

Family of a murdered Cambodian political activist granted Australian visas

A Cambodian woman looks at a portrait of prominent Cambodian critic Kem ley during the first anniversary of his murder Source: Getty Images

The Australian government has granted refugee visas to the family of a murdered Cambodian political activist.

Australia has granted asylum to the family of a murdered Cambodian political activist, as a deal to send refugees from Nauru to Cambodia remains in place.

The wife and five children of Kem Ley arrived in Melbourne on Saturday, the office of Victorian state MP Hong Lim confirmed.

Ley was gunned down in 2016 in a suspected political assassination.

He had made comments critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen's business dealings.

The family had spent 15 months in limbo in Thailand waiting for Australia to grant them visas.

Last week, exiled former Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy questioned the process.

"It would be very embarrassing to accept refugees from Cambodia when you want to send refugees to Cambodia," Mr Rainsy told the National Press Club in Canberra.

Cambodia agreed in 2014 to resettle refugees from Nauru in exchange for a $40 million aid sweetener.

A further $15 million has been allocated for running costs.

Only seven people took up the offer and it's believed only three remain there.

Cambodia's democracy is under attack, with the country's Supreme Court dissolving Mr Rainsy's Cambodia National Rescue Party last year and jailing opposition leader Kem Sokha.

The opposition was poised to strongly challenge the 33-year rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen at the July election.

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