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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Svay Rieng villagers’ health worsening in prison, relatives say

Svay Rieng villagers’ health worsening in prison, relatives say

RELATIVES of two villagers jailed in Svay Rieng provincial prison for damaging property have complained about their treatment at the hands of authorities, saying their health has deteriorated due to lack of medical care and tinhumane treatment by the authorities.

Prom Chea, 41, who was sentenced to one year in prison last month after being found guilty of uprooting temporary border markers in October, was admitted to Svay Rieng Referral Hospital this week, complaining of pains in his right leg and stomach problems .

Chhoeung Sarin, Prom Chea’s wife, said her husband’s health had improved, but that it was not being helped by the confinement tactics of the authorities.

“They shackled my husband’s legs every night, although he is seriously sick, and police are also guarding him. They only take off the shackles when I ask them to take my husband to the bathroom,” Chhoeung Sarin said.

“I requested them to take off the shackles, since he is seriously sick and cannot flee … but they still do not agree,” she said.

Chan Soveth, a senior investigator for local rights group Adhoc, decried the shackling of a sick prisoner, describing it as “inhuman” and contrary to the UN Torture Convention.

“If he is seriously sick and they shackle him it seems to add an element of torture to his sickness. We would like to call on prison officials to find other methods,” he said.

Relatives of Meas Srey, 39, the other Svay Rieng villager jailed over the border post incident, say she is also suffering health problems in prison.

Meas Srey’s elder brother Meas Proel said life in jail had worsened his sister’s “weak heart” and caused pains in her joints due to the lack of medical care.

“I went to visit my sister last week, and she told me her weak heart is more serious than before. When she was at home she took medicine every day, but since she has been in prison she has not taken the medicine as often, so her sickness is stronger than before,” he said.

But prison chief Ken Savoeun said Meas Srey had the heart illness before she was jailed, and that he had heard no reports about her health worsening.

“If she was seriously sick she would be sent out to have treatment,” he said.



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