Security personnel watched as 22 distraught women and children climbed the walls of Prey Speu social affairs centre at about 11am today and fled in tuk-tuks after SRP lawmakers Mu Sochua and Sovann Sokha visited the site to tell them that the government had no right to lock them up.
Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
Deatinees in Prey Speu held after protesting in Borei Keila scale the wall of the detention centre this morning as guards watch their escape.
Earlier, the women and children, who were among 30 detained during a Borei Keila protest in Phnom Penh last Wednesday and held without charge, had accepted food and water from relatives and made impassioned pleas for their release through journalists who also gathered outside.
It wasn’t long before the items were being passed back and the detainees were climbing the grey brick walls.
Older women and small children were lifted up and passed to those who had gone before them and the detainees ran to awaiting tuk-tuks.
Prior to the escape, Mu Sochua was granted access to the site, something the detainees’ families had been denied.
She addressed the emotional women, who knelt in front of her – many crying and some rocking their weary children – as relatives watched through the bars of the centre’s main entrance.
She said she had asked the director of Prey Speu to release the women and children because he did not have the relevant paperwork to detain them.
Tuk-tuks drove the women and children to the office of the Housing Rights Task Force in Khan Meancheay.