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.
Some lawyers were never granted permission to meet their clients
while others were on several occasions denied access to their clients and when
finally, sometimes after waiting for months, permitted to see them they could
only meet for a few minutes. Furthermore, fifty of the 122 CFF suspects were
unlawfully detained for longer than six months before being brought to trial.
10 1995. "Provisions Relating to the Judiciary and Criminal Law and Procedure Applicable in
Cambodia During the Transitional Period",
At their eventual trials, defense lawyers raised the issue of excessive
pre-trial detention of their clients and requested their immediate release; this
was not granted by the trial judge.
Death in Prison
According to LICADHO information 53 prisoners died in 2001, two women and 51
men. The majority, 30 inmates, died in CC1 (formerly T3) in Phnom Penh See figure
6 for details of prison deaths during the year.
The vast majority of the deaths were caused by disease. However, three prisoners
committed suicide and two other deaths involved prisoners who had received injuries
prior to being sent to prison; it was unclear whether the latter deaths were caused by
the injuries. An alarming high number of deceased prisoners in 2001, as many as 20,
were either confirmed or suspected to have died from diseases related to HIV-AIDS.
Ten deceased prisoners suffered serious abdominal pains or abdominal bleeding prior
to death, but the cause was never determined. LICADHO medical team is notified by
the prison director upon the death of an inmate. When possible, the medical team
investigates the body of the deceased inmate to record information which may
indicate cause of death.