B ATTAMBANG - An eight month-pregnant woman has been in Battambang provincial
prison - without sentence - for not paying an international telephone
Chan Navy, 40, said she had been in jail for three months, unable
to contact her daughter living with relatives in Phnom Penh, who did not know
she was in prison.
Navy appeared tired, weak and sad earlier this week.
She said she could not stand up much because she was so heavily
She said she was detained after borrowing her sister-in-law's
telephone to call a relative in New Zealand three times. She paid only for the
first call. Her sister-in-law complained to provincial authorities and Navy was
arrested and imprisoned.
Prison chief Danh Chhoeng said he wanted to free
Navy. "I have submitted to the judge for her to be released but he did not
agree. This women is pitiable. She has to give birth this month and I don't want
her to have her baby here," he said.
Navy's defender, Chim Dara from the
Cambodian Defenders Project, said his client's unpaid phone bills added up to
He said Navy rang her relative to ask for money and had been
promised $1000. She planned to reimburse her sister-in-law for the calls from
Dara alleged that the sister-in-law's husband worked in the local
court, and knew the judge handling the case.
As the Post went to press,
Dara said he had made an arrangement to post a $200 "bail" to have her
He did not know when she would be released, but expected it to be
within a day or two.
"If we didn't have any money, the judge would not
let her out of custody," he said. "This woman would be jailed until they thought
she [had served time] equal to the value of the money owed."