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Inmates stuck in prison limbo

Mom Sophon / Khmer Times Share:
A file photo shows suspects arriving in court. Supplied

Court of Appeal prosecutor has asked the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court to determine how many prisoners may be serving time in jail over the duration of their sentence after being transferred from Thailand.


Deputy prosecutor General Svay Samnang sent a letter to the court last week, asking the provincial prosecutor to ensure any prisoners serving time in excess of their sentences were immediately released.

Mr Samnang noted that he had received information from the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia relating to the detention of prisoners past their sentences.

“Prisoners who have already completed their sentence must not remain in the country’s prisons in accordance with the law,” his letter said.

“The Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court prosecutor should verify the names of prisoners in the attached list that have already completed their sentences and ask the prison warden to release them if they are not being held for any other crimes.”

Deputy prosecutor and spokesman for Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court Sok Keo Bandit said he is searching for missing documents in relation to some cases to ensure prisoners who have served their sentence are promptly released.

Soum An, the mother of prisoner Ly Reth, said Banteay Meanchey provincial prison has detained her child for more than a year past his sentence. He served nine years in Thailand, and another three in Cambodia, she said.

“Other prisoners had the same sentence, and they were released,” she said. “But the court has detained my child over the sentence for more than a year.”

Soum Chankea, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the provincial prosecutor is dragging his feet on the cases and allowing for the illegal detention of free men.

“According to Cambodian law, prisoners must not be detained over the fixed term, they must be freed,” he said. “If there is such excessive detention, this is illegal detention.”

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