The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons on Wednesday blamed the custodial death of a 34-year-old inmate to alcohol withdrawal.
Its spokesman Nuth Savana said the deceased, Tuy Sros, had been charged with “intentional violence” against a landowner in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrov district.
“The accused was issued a detention warrant on [the evening of] December 31, 2019 . . . After arriving at the prison, we noticed that [Sros] showed symptoms of [alcoholism].
“He had not eaten any rice during his two-day interrogation before being sent to prison by Banteay Meanchey officials,” he said, stressing that the deceased was under the supervision of provincial Military Police during his questioning.
Savana said provincial prison officials had prepared for Sros to be transferred to the prison by cutting his hair and assigning him a prison uniform when his wife visited.
“When his wife came to visit him, [Tuy Sros] appeared to be unwell and asked his wife for some wine. She requested the prison officials to allow her husband to drink wine because he was heavily addicted to it and had not eaten for two days. He then fell and was found to have fainted.
“[The prison officials] supplied him with oxygen and sent him to the provincial referral hospital. He died while on the way there,” Savana said.
Sros was among five people accused in a land dispute case.
Banteay Meanchey governor Um Reatrey told The Post he could not comment on the case as he was busy.
However, provincial Adhoc coordinator Sum Chankea said villagers who were aware of Sros’ plight confirmed he would often drink excessively, adding that “prison officials must be responsible and should have checked his condition before incarcerating him”.
“We are still investigating this case because a person died and the State’s officials are responsible for all detainees,” he said.
The Post was unable to reach Sros’ widow and provincial Military Police officials for comment.