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Pchum Ben ceremonies permitted with conditions in prisons

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The General Department of Prisons (GDP) director-general Chhem Savuth. FACEBOOK

Pchum Ben ceremonies permitted with conditions in prisons

The General Department of Prisons (GDP) is permitting the organisation of religious ceremonies during the Pchum Ben festival for detainees across the country this year while also allowing families and relatives to visit inmates in areas at low-risk for transmission of Covid-19.

In a letter dated October 2, GDP director-general Chhem Savuth informed the directors of correctional centres and prisons across the country that it was permissible for inmates to attend religious ceremonies during the festival within the prison by following strict health measures and only gathering to hold the ceremonies in small groups.

He also said that relatives of detainees in areas considered low-risk for Covid-19 transmission may visit them during the festival.

For the prisons and correctional centres in the areas at high risk for Covid-19, direct visitations are not yet permitted, but relatives are allowed to bring food to the inmates by dropping it off with the prison guards.

Kampong Thom provincial prison director Tam Vey told The Post on October 3 that he had followed the instructions by permitting families and relatives to visit detainees because it is located in a light transmission area.

“No detainees in my prison have ever contracted the disease to date. We only permit relatives who have been fully vaccinated to visit. They come in and see their family members one by one,” he said.

Vey said he was still in consultation with relevant authorities on how to organise Pchum Ben ceremonies usually held inside of the prison each year.

“We just received these instructions. We will discuss it further with the health officials and the monks and talk about how many monks can be permitted to enter the prison for a small ceremony while still following all of the health measures,” he said.

He said the prison will hold a Pchum Ben holiday event on October 4 where the detainees will be served bread and curry and given some leisure t

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