FREEDOM FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS |
PRISONS IN CAMBODIA|
Human Rights and Cambodia’s Prisons|
Human rights conditions in Cambodian prisons have deteriorated on several fronts,
due in large part to the increasing prison population. Since 1997, the population has
grown at a steady rate. In one year alone, from 2000 to 2001, the prison population
increased by 10%, that is 471 more inmates than the previous year.
As at December 2003, the total population of prisoners in Cambodian prisons was 5711 individuals (in the 18 prison monitored by LICADHO).
Of these the majority were men: Male adults 91.2% - Females 3.7% - Minors 5.1%
The UN Special Representative to Cambodia observed that the overcrowding problem
in Cambodian prisons has changed little in the past eight years.
· The prison population has increased from 2933 in December 1998 to 5711 in
December 2003 - an increase of 95%. However, the number of prisons has not increased
to deal with this increasing number
Overcrowding in 2002 was a particular problem in Kompong Thom, Battambang,
Sihanoukville and Banteay Meanchay prisons (exceeding maximum capacity by 317%,
107%, 84% and 50% respectively)
This leads to many problems. For example:
- In 2003 at one point nine prisoners were shackled together outdoors for 23.5 hours a day in Kompong Thom prison due to overcrowding
- Prisoners are often transferred to less crowded prisons which means they are located far from their families upon whom they rely for much needed provisions and support
- Some inmates are denied the required one hour out of their cell a day because of security concerns created by overcrowding.
Overcrowding remains a serious problem, in particular at Kompong Thom, Banteay
Meanchey, and in Sihanoukville, where the prison population has grown considerably
since the 1999 report. Attempts to alleviate overcrowding have been undertaken such
as rebuilding existing facilities, but it remains a grave problem. For example, in
Kompong Thom prison, each prisoner has approximately 0. 93 m2 living space, which
marks a decrease from 1.70 m2 in 1998. This prison was designed to accommodate 40
persons according to the director; in 2001 it is shared by 120 inmates, triple its
Overcrowding also contributed to the lack of recreational time had by prisoners.
Prisoners are entitled to one hour a day outside their cell.
However, in practice some do not receive even this.
The worst prisons are CC1 , PJ, Kandal and Kompong Thom.
In CC1 during 2002, around 400 prisoners out of 1377 prisoners
were let out each weekday for one hour. This meant they only get
out every 3 to 4 days.
In Kandal prison new prisoners were not being let out of the cell for one
month because they had to pay for recreational time.
The Health situation in Cambodian Prisons is very poor.
Prisoners have limited access to medical care. The health care provided by the
official prison staff fails to meet the minimum standards set out in domestic and
Prison health workers receive only basic nursing training. In 2002, in one prison,
a guard was fulfilling the role of medical officer with no medical training at all.
A large percentage of diseases are preventable through a reduction in overcrowding,
improved hygiene and facilities, provision of safe water and provision of a nutritionally
In the 12 prisons visited by LICADHO Medical Team:
Inadequate funding makes it impossible to obtain a healthy diet.
The prison authorities are allocated just 1000 riel a day ($0.25) to meet
all the needs of an individual prisoner. Prisoners often rely on family members
to bring additional food. Due to the remote locations of some prisons and the
high costs for families to visit this is often not possible.
- 51% of diseases were infectious diseases
- 18% were sanitation related
- In 2001- 2002 the 2nd most common diagnosis was beri beri.
Many families are not able to visit their family members in prison due to
distance or an inability to pay the various payments they are made to pay,
in contravention of Cambodian prison regulations and international standards.
For example a visit to CC1 can cost 23,000 Riels ($5.75) in such payments, a
huge sum for most Cambodians.
Following is a list of known prisons in Cambodia.
Banteay Meanchey prison
Koh Kong prison
Kongpong Cham prison
Kompoong Chhnang prison
Kompong Speu prison
Kampong Thom prison
Police Judicial (PJ)
Siem Reap prison
Svay Rieng prison
Preah Vihear prison
Stung Treng prison
Prey Veng prison
Correctional Center 2 (CC 1- the Prey Sar prison for women and children)
Correctional Center 1 (CC1 –formerly known as T3)
Correctional Center 1 (CC1 formerly known as T3)
Takeo Correctional Center 3 (CC3 also known as Trapaing Plong)
Toul Sleng (military prison in Phnom Penh)|
PRISONERS & PRISONERS EXPERIENCES|
Bangkok Bangkwang Prison (Northanburi) - Thailand
||Age at Arrest
||Arrested Jan 05 with 2kg heroin. Sentenced 13 years in May 2005.
||Vuong is detained at Correctional Centre-2 for juveniles on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. He shares a 4mx8m cell with 32 men. Read more at campaign page|
Case Study #1 - The following case study, based on victim testimony, illustrates some aspects of
excessive pre-trial detention in Cambodia’s prisons.|
An example of excessive pre-trial is the case of a young man aged 17
when he was arrested on March 30, 2000 and charged with robbery. The
investigating judge concluded his investigation and sent the case to be
assigned to a trial judge on October 9, 2000, yet the man was not brought to
trial by Phnom Penh Municipal court until September 24, 2001, nearly 18
months after his date of arrest. This is in strict violation of Cambodian Prison
Procedure 34.2, Section 5, which states that minors 13-18 years of age should
not be held in pre-trial detention for more than one month, or two months if
the minor is charged with a crime|
Click Here for complete story....
Case Study #2 - The following case study details the particular conditions experienced by
Cambodian Freedom Fighters.|
A violent attack on several government buildings in Phnom Penh by
alleged CFF members on November 24, 2000 led to numerous arrests, both on
the night of the attack and in subsequent weeks and months. Dozens of alleged
CFF members were detained in successive waves of arrests, and charged with
offences related to terrorism, illegal weapons possession or membership of an
illegal armed group.
While in pre-trial detention, nearly all of the accused were held in
virtual incommunicado detention, without access to human rights workers and,
in many cases, their own defense lawyers and family members.|
Click Here for complete story....
Torture In Prisons|
The amount of reported torture committed by prison guards has remained relatively
low for several years, although it has by no means been eradicated. Torture appears to
be primarily used in prisons as a punishment for alleged breaches of discipline or
security, particularly escape attempts, by inmates. But torture may also be used for
other purposes, and new inmates may be particularly vulnerable.
The prolonged use of shackles – which are prohibited under Cambodian law – is the
most common type of torture.11 International law, through the Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which was passed by the United Nations
Congress in 1955, also renders illegal the use of these instruments of restraint.
"Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and
straitjackets, shall never be applied as a punishment. Furthermore,
chains or irons shall not be used as restraints."
Shackles were used in Sihanoukville and Kompong Thom prisons during 2001.
Almost one third of the prisoners who reported torture in prison were detained in
Sihanoukville prison. A particular issue of concern in Sihanoukville prison, based on
prisoner interviews conducted over several years, is the practice of new prisoners
being beaten or kicked soon after their arrival at the prison – this introduction to the
prison is apparently an attempt to ‘soften up’ new prisoners and make them
submissive to prison guards. LICADHO raised this practice with the prison director,
who promised to put an end to it.
Cambodian criminal law and prison regulations clearly prohibit torture for any reason,
including as a punishment, but no prison official has been convicted of torture for a
decade. A test case, involving the prosecution of five Kompong Cham prison guards
for allegedly severely torturing five prisoners (including knocking them unconscious
with metal hoes) in December 1999, had yet to go to trial by 2001.
Cambodian Prison Procedure 25.1, Section 3-5: "Handcuffs must never be used as punishment.
Handcuffs are only to be used when authorized by the Prison Chief and must not be applied for any
longer period of time than is strictly necessary. Handcuffs are only to be used to prevent a prisoner
from injuring themselves, or others. "
NEWS & RESOURCES|
Life Inside One of Cambodia’s Worst Prisons
LICADHO Report on Prison Conditions in Cambodia
LICADHO Report on Prison Health Conditions in Cambodia
Children in Prison in Cambodia
Maps of Cambodia
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSABILITY|
WE DO NOT ACCEPT DONATIONS OR COLLECT MONEY or ITEMS IN KIND, FOR OR ON BEHALF OF PRISONERS OR THEIR FAMILIES.|
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