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

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Covid in Kingdom hits ‘critical point’

    The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia has reached a critical point, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned, as cases surge with two more deaths and 265 infections reported over the weekend. On March 28 alone, the Ministry of Health recorded 86 Covid-19 cases linked to the February 20

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian