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Prey Sar prison chief sues inmate over insults

Prison guards stand at the entrance gate to Prey Sar prison where an inmate is facing defamation charges for comments made against the prison’s chief of the women’s section.
Prison guards stand at the entrance gate to Prey Sar prison where an inmate is facing defamation charges for comments made against the prison’s chief of the women’s section. Hong Menea

Prey Sar prison chief sues inmate over insults

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case of a Prey Sar prison inmate accused of defamation by her own prison chief after publicly calling him names.

Plaintiff Klot Dara, chief of Prey Sar’s women’s section, accused inmate Tep Sreypov of defaming him in December 2014 after the prisoner publicly railed against the chief following an invasive drug search.

Dara has demanded $5,000 from the prisoner.

The alleged incident occurred after Sreypov, who is serving her second sentence on drug charges, was given a body search, privately, by the prison chief’s daughter Klot Kanika, an administrator at the prison.

“[Kanika] said I was hiding drugs in my vagina, but when she checked, there was nothing,” said Sreypov, who was representing herself.

While Kanika did not find drugs on Sreypov, she did find $10,000 worth of cash on her person, according to Heng Samnang, a prison official attending the trial on behalf of the plaintiff.

Dara’s complaint accuses Sreypov of calling him and his daughter “dogs” and other, more profane, names.

“This complaint is to warn other prisoners not to do so,” read the document, which was submitted to the court a month after the incident.

Under the criminal code, defamation is defined by “any allegation or charge made in bad faith which tends to injure the honour or reputation of a person or institution”, and may include “any words whatsoever uttered in a public place”.

It carries a fine of 100,000 to 10 million riel (about $25 to $2,500). A verdict is due on January 28.

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