Conditions at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison are steadily improving,
according to human rights activists, although jails in the provinces
are still plagued by mismanagement and massive funding shortfalls.
During a June 1 visit to Prey Sar, during which donations were offered
to 382 underage and female prisoners, local human rights group Licadho
reported that conditions at the prison’s Correctional Center 2 (CC2)
had improved with prisoners no longer being routinely shackled or
tortured, said Licadho president Kek Galabru.
But outside of the capital prisons are still plagued by overcrowding and a severe lack of resources.
“Provincial prisons lack two things: food and medical supplies,”
Galabru said, noting that prisoners receive an average of just 1,500
riels of resources per day.
Licadho used the event, which marked International Children’s Day, to
draw attention to the practice of keeping people in detention past the
completion of their sentences while they await the prosecution's
appeal, which is, they say, a serious violation of human rights.
“I was sentenced to one year in jail when I was 15. I am now 18. I want
to know how long I will stay in prison,” said Nut Saron, a prisoner at
Currently, if the prosecutor appeals a case, the accused – such as
Saron – cannot be released until the case has been heard by the Appeals
Court, which is overburdened by a backlog of up to two years.
“Our officials have already raised over 20 similar cases of overlong
confinement [awaiting appeal] with the Appeals Court and asked that
they check the cases and set exact dates for the hearings rather than
allowing minors to stay in jail for over two years waiting. This is an
injustice," Galabru said.
Licadho visits 18 of Cambodia’s 26 prisons on three occasions each
year, donating clothing and cans of food to mark International Children
Day, International Women’s Day and Khmer New Year.