Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prisons bar visits as courts adjourn trials amid Covid

Prisons bar visits as courts adjourn trials amid Covid

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Inmates were transported back from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to the prison while their relatives saw them off. Heng Chivoan

Prisons bar visits as courts adjourn trials amid Covid

The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Prisons (GDP) has decided to temporarily suspend visits from relatives for detainees across the country and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court has decided to adjourn all hearings for two weeks in order to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

General Department of Prisons spokesman Nuth Savana told The Post on February 24 that due to the serious nature of this latest outbreak of Covid-19 the authorities had temporarily suspended visits for two weeks.

Savana added that in these circumstances, not only would they be suspending visitations but for safety purposes they would also be limiting unnecessary contact with prisoners by prison officials and putting restrictions on prison official’s requests for leave too.

“We’ve done this before but we’ve recommended strengthening [these restrictions]. This time they will be stricter than ever before because of the new virus.

“Even in the provinces, those asking for permission to go to Phnom Penh or to other places when it isn’t necessary will not be allowed to do so. If they go somewhere and return to work infected by the virus it could quickly spread to every prisoner. So we all must be very careful,” he said.

However, he said that in cases where it was deemed necessary prison officials would allow relatives to visit inmates, but they must have a compelling reason and the visit must be approved by senior prison officials.

Kandal provincial prison director Chat Sineang told The Post that his provincial prison officials had now tightened security around the prison and would not allow relatives to visit detainees until further notice.

“When relatives come, we now require them to drop-off [items for prisoners] and we will give them to the detainee after they are disinfected with alcohol. Our community seems to be aware of the situation because this morning less than ten people came to visit relatives at the prison,” he said.

According to Savana, there are roughly 39,200 people detained in prisons across the country and of that number approximately 2,600 of them are detained in Kandal’s provincial prison.

Cambodia’s courts are also taking measures in response to this latest outbreak of Covid-19. Phnom Penh municipal court has decided to suspend all scheduled hearings from February 24 to March 12 to assist the government in preventing community transmission of the virus.

Phnom Penh Municipal Court has announced that because of the Covid-19 situation following the “February 20 community incident” where the virus is spreading more rapidly in the community and containment is proving to be more complicated than with previous events the court has decided to postpone all hearings scheduled from February 24 to March 12, 2021.

The announcement states that the municipal court will reschedule these hearings after the Covid-19 situation due to the “February 20 community incident” has improved.

The court also stated in the announcement that the daily administrative work of receiving complaints and providing court services to people will continue normal operations during this period.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the

  • 'Pandora Papers' expose leaders' offshore millions

    More than a dozen heads of state and government, from Jordan to Azerbaijan, Kenya and the Czech Republic, have used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a far-reaching new investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (

  • Cambodia voted ‘world’s friendliest country’ in Rough Guides reader poll

    Cambodia ranked number one among the “World’s Friendliest Countries”, according to a reader poll conducted by London-based international website “Rough Guides”. Taking submissions through Twitter and Facebook, “Rough Guides”, a well-known travel agency and publisher of guidebooks, said the Kingdom “was by far the

  • Two major S’ville events could jumpstart international tourism: insiders

    Preah Sihanouk province is set to host two major international tourism-related events in late 2021 and early 2022, which insiders expect to ignite new interest among new and repeat foreign holidaymakers into visiting the Kingdom and significantly raise tourist arrivals from near zero in the Covid era.