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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Escapes, or attempts, by prison inmates-and associated shootings of escapees - in 1997

Escapes, or attempts, by prison inmates-and associated shootings of escapees - in 1997

SIEM REAP

Feb 16: A total of 21 inmates, taking their baths in the prison courtyard

according to prison officials, break through two doors or gates. Nineteen of them

are caught. One inmate, convicted of rape, escapes and is still at large. Another,

convicted murderer Yim Yorng, is shot and killed near the prison. He is shot three

times in the leg (From the rear) and once in the forehead (from the front or side),

photographs show. He is buried without an autopsy, and without his family's knowledge,

A senior Siem Reap police official reportedly tells a human rights group that he

is sorry only one inmate was killed, and that if the police had shot 10, he would

have bought them a cow for a party. A prison official reportedly expresses regret

for the killing, but says it was probably necessary. At least two of the 19 inmates

who were captured are injured from beatings after being returned to their cells.

One inmate claims prison staff encouraged other inmates to beat them.

KAMPONG CHAM

Mar 17: A prisoner escapes while receiving medical care in hospital.

Apr 27: All the inmates of one cell-except one, left bound and gagged after

he refuses to join them - escape at night. The 24 inmates smash a hole in the ceiling,

remove roof tiles and use kramas to climb down a wall. Three inmates, including two

children aged 16 and 13, are recaptured within 24 hours. The others remain at large.

KAMPONG THOM

Jan 12: Four inmates escape. They are shot dead by soldiers two days later,

according to prison officials but this is unconfirmed.

April 17: Between five to seven inmates, according to differing accounts,

escape by breaking through a ceiling and using trousers and kramas to scale a wall.

About 8km from the prison, police catch up with four of five of them. Two inmates

are shot and killed after either one or both of them, according to conflicting police

reports, pick up sticks and menance the AK47-carrying police. (One official later

says the police were afraid of one of the inmates killed because he had a reputation

of being magical and immune to bullets, and he was also a Muslim.) One corpse is

purportedly buried at the scene; the other handed over to his family. Another man

is shot and wounded by police. The bullet enters his lower leg from behind and exits

his lower thigh; a medical observer says he must have been shot either while running

with his leg outstretched, or while lying on his stomach or climbing something. He

is returned to prison and treated by another inmate with some medical training.

April 28: Female inmate Um Yay, 40, knocks a hole in her cell wall and

scales an outside wall and fence. While still on the prison grounds, she is approached

by a prison guard and shot. According to Yay's testimony, the guard raised his rifle

at her while she is walking toward the prison's kitchen; she begs him not to shoot,

he fires one bullet into her thigh. She is taken to hospital.

SIHANOUKVILLE (KAMPONG SOM)

Mar 4: Eleven inmates knock a hole through their cell wall about 3am. Prison

guards catch up with them trying to scale an outer wall. Eight inmates escape (still

at large) and two are captured. Another, Nun Bay, is shot three times, in the arm,

abdomen and neck. (Officials later say that the guards opened fire in the air and

the three bullets ricocheted off the wall.) Bay is taken to Sihanoukville prison

about 3:30am and left untreated until about 8am, according to human rights workers.

An operation is done to stop the bleeding from his neck wound, and he is left in

a room with two metal clamps attached to a bandage (see photo at right). He dies,

from suffocation from an obstructed airway, about 1:20pm that afternoon; rights workers

claim hospital incompetence and negligence. After the escape attempt, guards begin

shackling inmates.

BATTAMBANG

Jan 4: Sixteen inmates attempt to escape while exercising in the yard.

Some escape through the open prison gate and others climb the wall. Thirteen are

captured, one is shot in the leg and treated at the prison, and two get away. The

pair, a convicted murderer and a convicted robber, remain at large.

Mar 30: One inmate escapes while receiving treatment in hospital.

April 14: Two inmates, one serving life for murder, are let out the prison

to cut firewood. They run off.

PURSAT

May 13: An inmate who owed money to an NGO is let out the prison with two

guards to go and pay his debt. He suggests they stop for lunch, and offers to pay

for the guards. After lunch the inmate, awaiting trial on rape charges, escapes.

KAMPONG CHHANG

Mar 4: An inmate is let out to help the prison director with work at his house.

When the prisoner is returned in the evening, the key to his cell cannot be found,

so he is allowed to sleep outdoors. He escapes during the night.

PREY VENG

Feb 17: Three inmates are sent by the prison director to the home of a judge

to chop down a tree. One inmate runs off.

May 10 : One prisoner flees after being allowed out to carry water for

the guards.

BANTEAY MEANCHEY

Jan 21: One inmate escapes. Details are unclear.

SVAY RIENG

May 2: One prisoner tries to escape but is caught. He attempts to kill himself

after being returned to his cell. Fellow inmates stop him.

- Source: Licadho and UNCHR. The above list is not necessarily exhaustive. Some

information (particularly about escapees whose recapture may not have been reported)

may not be up-to-date.

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