Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Inmates to return to soaked cells

Inmates to return to soaked cells

Prisoners at Banteay Meanchey are evacuated to neigbouring provinces after flooding
Prisoners at Banteay Meanchey are evacuated to neigbouring provinces after flooding inundated the prison compound in October. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Inmates to return to soaked cells

All 842 prisoners evacuated from Banteay Meanchey provincial prison after water pressure caused a wall to collapse in early October will be sent back there next week – despite only minimal repairs having been undertaken to the flood-damaged building, a rights worker said yesterday.

Som Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, told the Post that some prisoners had been returned to clean out waterlogged cells.

“Government agents should open their eyes and not turn a blind eye. Or do they want to change the name of [Banteay Meanchey prison] to the ‘flooded prison?’” Chankea said.

Those prisoners who had returned, Chankea added, had discovered that prison staff had burned their personal items such as clothing, mats, blankets and other paraphernalia.

“They should not have burned these items because some of them are necessary [for inmates], especially for those prisoners sentenced for five to 10 years.”

Hin Sophal, director of the prison, said a request for buses to transport the evacuees back to Banteay Meanchey prison next week had been submitted and was awaiting approval.

“Concerning the items of the prisoners, what was saved from the water that couldn’t be used was burned. We have kept what could still be used,” Sophal said, adding that relevant officials have already repaired and cleaned the flooded cells.

Sharon Critoph, a prison consultant for rights group Licadho, said inmates should be the last to shoulder fiscal losses caused by prison officials.

“Prison authorities bear full responsibility for any property lost or damaged due to the floods,” she said.

In its fifth report on the flood situation, released on October 30, the Humanitarian Response Forum – a network including the United Nations and NGOs – found that recent flooding has affected more than 1.7 million people and led to188 deaths.

The government will give $250 to the families of each person who died in the floods, reports published last week by government news agency Agence Kampuchea Presse said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AMELIA WOODSIDE

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,