Phnom Penh Municipality has rejected a request from the Cambodia National Rescue Party to visit the 23 detainees held in Kampong Cham province’s Tropaing Phlong prison, also known as Correctional Centre 3.
In a letter sent to the CNRP dated January 21, Phnom Penh Municipal Court investigating judge Chea Sokheang denied the request for 20 members of the opposition party to visit the detainees.
“They are accused of intentional violence with aggravating circumstances, intentional damages with aggravating circumstances, using means to obstruct public order and contempt,” the letter reads.
Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the CNRP, said it was an attempt to “silence freedom and [cover up] serious human rights violations”.
The 23 detainees – including Vorn Pov of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economic Association, representatives of land rights groups, workers and farmers – were arrested on January 2 and 3 for allegedly taking part in a protest with hundreds of workers, who were demanding a doubling of the minimum wage.
After their arrests, the 23 were incommunicado for a week before being tracked down to the remote prison near the Vietnamese border.