Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No special treatment for jailed CNRP members, says Chanrath

No special treatment for jailed CNRP members, says Chanrath

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
CNRP activists Ouk Pich Samnang (left) and Meach Sovannara (right) are escorted into the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh in January of 2017. Pha Lina

No special treatment for jailed CNRP members, says Chanrath

Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker Ou Chanrath on Thursday claimed that opposition officials and activists are not enjoying any preferential treatment in Prey Sar Prison after leaks surfaced that Meach Sovannara was in possession of a phone in his cell.

Opposition figure Sovannara has been serving a 20-year jail sentence since 2015, after he was arrested for demonstrating against the government in July 2014, which triggered violent clashes between the police and protestors at Freedom Park.

On July 26, Chanrath and four other members who visited 15 activists in prison after his request was finally approved by authorities, said the facility adopted strict rules for visitors and prisoners.

However, the request to meet former CNRP leader Kem Sokha at the Trapaing Plong Prison located in Kampong Cham province was not granted.

As the prison rules were strict, only four members – Um Sam Ann, Meach Sovannara, Neang Sokhun and Yon Kemhuor – were allowed as visitors but handshakes and direct talks were disallowed as they were shielded by mirrors and iron bars.

He said two sets of laws existed in the prison – for those charged with a felony and political prisoners. For the former, rules were more flexible as families could communicate directly and bring food for the inmates.

“During the visit, I found they are in good spirits and healthy. They also asked me about the status of their case and to help facilitate their release soon,” he said.

The jailed activists are Sam An, Sovannara, Roeun Chetra, Yea Thong, Oue Narin, Khin Roeun (Khin Chamroeun), Sokhun, San Kemheng, Sum Puthy, Ke Khim (Vin Di), Tep Narin, An Pakthorm (Sokhum), San Seyhak, Ouk Pichsamnang and Kemhuor.

Sorn Keo, the spokesman for the General Prison Department under the Ministry of Interior, said he did not know that Chanrath visited the prisoners. However, he confirmed that prison rules were implemented without discrimination against any group or party, and this was to ensure order and security.

Meanwhile, human rights organisation Adhoc spokesperson Soeng Sen Karona said if what Chanrath revealed was true, then it is a discrimination and contradicts the Constitution.

Sam An was detained for a border offence, while Sovannara and 13 other former CNRP activists were arrested for demonstrating to liberate Freedom Park in 2014. They were sentenced in July 2015 and face prison terms ranging from seven to 20 years.

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese influx pushing locals, Westerners out of Preah Sihanouk

    Some within the Kingdom’s tourism industry have speculated that the recent influx of Chinese visitors may hinder domestic tourism as the price of accommodations in the coastal city of Sihanoukville continues to rise. Preah Sihanouk province, which has become a hotbed for Chinese investment

  • ‘Dire consequences’ from sanctions, warns AmCham

    American businesspeople in Cambodia have warned that any sanction against the Kingdom would have “dire consequences” that could push Cambodia even further into the arms of China. In a letter to US senators and representatives dated Monday, the American Chamber of Commerce Cambodia (AmCham) said

  • Preah Sihanouk beach developments halted

    After receiving an order from Hun Sen, Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara led a team of experts and relevant officials to Sihanoukville to call a halt to the illegal development of a beach. The prime minister ordered the Prek Treng beach in Otres commune

  • CPP: ‘Behave or Sokha suffers’

    The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) spokesman warned Kem Monovithya on Thursday that her attempt to damage “national reputation and prestige” would lead to her father, Kem Sokha, receiving even harsher punishment. Sok Eysan issued the warning as Monovithya, who is the court dissolved