Following a visit to 15 jailed colleagues at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison on Friday, a group of op*po*sition lawmakers said the inmates needed more medical attention and better protection in the face of re*cent prison violence.
The jailed CNRP officials and activists—who are among the more than 20 government critics imprisoned over the past year—are generally in good health but need better attention from doctor and prison guards, and more time with visitors, CNRP lawmaker Long Ry said after the visit.
Long Ry, center, waits to enter Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison with fellow opposition lawmakers on Friday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)“They asked us to inform prison guards to pay more attention to them, because recently four Vietnamese prisoners beat up a Cambodian prisoner,” he said.
No evidence was presented that the jailed opposition figures were themselves in danger of violence.
Mr. Ry said the prisoners were also upset that three members of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguard unit, who were convicted in May for savagely beating two op*position lawmakers outside the Na*tional Assembly, were allowed long visitation sessions with family members—a privilege that has not been extended to the CNRP detainees.
The CNRP prisoners “saw that the prisoners who beat up lawmakers were allowed a long time to meet” with their families, he said. “Why can’t they?”
The prisoners also asked for more regular visits by doctors, Mr. Ry said, as the process currently requires paperwork that can take days to produce.
Officials at Prey Sar and the Interior Ministry’s prison department could not be reached for comment.
The lawmakers did not visit three prominent opposition figures—Senator Hong Sok Hour, As*sem*bly member Um Sam An and Seang Chet, a commune councillor from Kompong Cham province. They were previously barred from such visits on the grounds that the three were still awaiting trial and that the meetings would interfere with ongoing investigations.
Mr. Ry said the CNRP planned to submit a request to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday seeking approval to visit the trio.
odom@cambodiadaily.com
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