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Guards doze through escape

120217_05

A suspect who was being held in pre-trial detention at Preah Si­h­anouk provincial prison died from severe diarrhoea at the provincial hospital on Wednesday, while an inmate also receiving treatment escaped as two prison guards slept on their watch, the deputy prison director said yesterday.

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Sroun Chanthy, who was convicted last year of attempted murder, lies on a bed at a hospital in Preah Sihanouk province on Wednesday before escaping.

Deputy prison director Tan Naret said that according to doctors, the suspect died after experiencing severe diarrhoea, while another prisoner receiving treatment for the same ailment escaped about 10pm as two of his guards were asleep.

“We all tried our best to save [the suspect’s] life, but we could not help,” he said, adding that he would take measures against the “careless” guards.

“We filed a complaint to the provincial prosecutor already [about the escape] and we are also cooperating with all police officers to find and arrest the prisoner.”

Se Raksmey, prison researcher for rights group Licadho, said that two hours after arriving at Chamkar Chek hospital, 20-year-old detainee Yon Da was dead and 21-year-old inmate Sroun Chanthy had fled.

He added that Yon Da was detained two days after his arrest in October of last year on robbery charges, while Sroun Chanthy was arrested in June and subsequetly sentenced to four years in prison for attempted murder.

“One suspect died because of the carelessness of the prison doctor, the suspect had serious diarrhoea since February 14, but they brought him to receive medical treatment [on February 15],” Se Raksmey said.

“We wonder why they bring  prisoners to get medical treatment so late.”

Liv Mauv, deputy director-gen­er­al of the general department of prisons at the Ministry of Interior, said he had been informed about the escape.

“The prison guards who are careless and let prisoners escape will be punished according to the law,” he said.

Licadho provincial co-ordinator Boun Narith said he was not sure how Sroun Chanthy had escaped because his leg was locked to the hospital bed and people were around him.

“I will investigate this,” he said.

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