Two prisoners, both convicted of rape, have died over the past few days, one in Kandal province, the other in Kampong Chhnang province. One died in hospital due to high blood pressure and one in prison from a heart attack.
Leng Se, 46 – from Prek Ta Ke village in Koh Thom district’s Koh Thom Khor commune in Kandal province – was convicted of rape in the village in April 2014.
Keo Sarim, 59 – who was born in Kampong Chhnang province but lived in Koh Ta Pov village in Kampong Svay district’s Phat Sanday commune in Kampong Thom province before his conviction – was arrested in June 2008.
Nuth Savna, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior’s general prison department, said he had not yet received details.
However, he was informed that Se had high blood pressure and was sent to Chey Chumneas Referral Hospital in Takhmao city by prison officials, where he died on Sunday.
Sarim was found dead in his cell by prison guards on Monday. He suffered a heart attack, already having tuberculosis and other diseases, Savana said.
Police ordered an autopsy, and doctors did not find any injuries consistent with suspicious circumstances.
Savna said because of overcrowding, more prison buildings were being built in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, but only in these two locations.
In other provinces, he said, conditions remained the same. However, prisons throughout Cambodia are gradually being improved.
“If prisoners have health problems that are not serious, we have medical experts in the area. If their health issues are serious, they are sent to hospitals outside prison. It depends on their situation,” he said.
Neither Tam Vei, Kampong Thom provincial prison chief, nor his Kandal province counterpart Chat Sineang could be reached for comment.
Soeung Sen Karuna, the senior investigating officer for rights group Adhoc, told The Post he had on many occasions hounded authorities regarding the issue of prison overcrowding, with Adhoc officials having been themselves imprisoned.
He said it was hard to survive in prison because they are so crowded it was hard to even turn one’s body, making it easy to contract diseases.