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Sam An, Sovannara get visit from rapporteur

Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith speaks with a reporter on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith speaks with a reporter on Wednesday in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Sam An, Sovannara get visit from rapporteur

United Nations Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith yesterday visited Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison and met with jailed opposition lawmaker Um Sam An and activist Meach Sovannara to inquire about prison conditions there, officials said.

In the past 18 months, the prison has become home to a raft of high-profile inmates, including four Adhoc staffers, Sam Rainsy Party Senator Hong Sok Hour, land activist Tep Vanny and other activists and protesters.

Nuth Savna, spokesman for the Interior Ministry’s General Department of Prisons, said Smith spoke to about five inmates during her 20-minute tour of the facilities, after which she met with prison officials.

He added that she raised the issue of the overcrowding of the prison, access to health facilities and the care of female inmates who were pregnant. “We wait for her report and recommendations to see if they are accurate and not biased. If it is biased, we will send her a response,” he said.

CNRP spokesman Yim Sovann said he was unaware if Smith met with jailed party officials, and the UN envoy would only confirm her visit to the CC1 and CC2 correctional centres.

Prior to her prison visit, Smith met with the families of the four jailed Adhoc staffers – Yi Soksan, Ny Sokha, Nay Vanda, Lim Mony – and the family of ex-Adhoc staffer and current election official Ny Chakrya. Adhoc officials and family members could not be reached for comment.

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