The Interior Ministry yesterday issued a directive to directors of all prisons and rehabilitation centres in the country to immediately stop allowing inmates to use mobile phones.
Chan Kimseng, the ministry’s General Department of Prisons director, issued the directive and told them to comply with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s call for a ban on the use of phones in prisons.
“Stop allowing detainees to use phones from this month until a new directive comes out,” he said in the directive. “Please crack down on inmates who smuggle mobile phones into correctional centers and prisons and confiscate the devices.”
Mr Kimseng noted that those who provide the phones and inmates who use the devices while detained are going against prison regulations and can be punished under articles 571 and 572 of the criminal code.
Article 571 states that any person who delivers or sends to a detainee any money, correspondence, item or substance other than those permitted by the regulations shall be punishable by imprisonment for between one month and one year and a fine of one hundred thousand to two million riels.
Article 572 applies the same punishment for detainees who unlawfully receive the items in prison.
On Tuesday at a groundbreaking ceremony in Phnom Pen, Mr Hun Sen ordered the general director of the General Department of Prisons to stop detainees from secretly making phone calls from within the prisons.
The prison population in the country increased by nearly 30 percent in 2017 when compared to 2016, an annual report released last year by the General Department of Prisons showed.The prison population in 2017 was 28,414.