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Prisoners to move from overcrowded jail

About 70 prisoners will be transferred from Banteay Meanchey provincial prison due to overcrowding, officials said yesterday.

Aing Maltey, director of Banteay Meanchey provincial court, said he plans to transfer 20 prisoners, specifically those involved with drug offences, to Phnombak Correction Centre in Sisophon district, Banteay Meanchey province, next week.

“Offenders who are serving time for minor crimes, like drug users and small-drug distributors, are going to be moved,” he said.

Permission is also being sought from the General Prison Department at the Ministry of Interior for another 50 inmates to be sent to an agricultural prison in Pursat province next week, added Phean Chhorvon, acting director of Banteay Meanchey provincial court. He said that currently 1,097  inmates are held in the provincial prison, while its capacity was just 500 to 800 inmates.

The decision was made after a meeting yesterday between Aing Maltey and organisations including rights group Licadho, Legal Aid of Cambodia and members of the United Nations.

Ung Samith, coordinator for Licadho, who attended the meeting, said that transferring inmates would improve living conditions in the prison. However, he was concerned for the prisoners who are transferred to Phnombak Correction Centre.

He said the facility is not financially supported by the government and an influx of new inmates may cause a shortage of food.

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