LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World – Tuesday, 20.7.2010

Posted on 21 July 2010. Filed under: Week 674 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 674

“Phnom Penh: The Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights [LICADHO] has found that prisons in Cambodia could become detention centers with the highest prisoner rates before or by 2018. Such a prediction is based on the results from the observations of 18 among the 25 prisons countrywide.

“The findings from the observations of LICADHO, released on Monday, 19 July 2010, show that there are 12,646 prisoners in 18 prisons in 13 provinces, as observed by LICADHO. In December 2009, one third of the prisoners in detention did not yet have a hearing. Some prisons do not have proper living condition for prisoners.

“Prisons in Cambodia have scarce resources, and the overcrowding of prisons leads to ever more serious conditions in the prisons.

“According to the report of LICADHO, the increase in the number of prisoners from day to day might lead to a situation where Cambodia has a prison system with the highest prisoner rates in the world before or by 2018, because in some prisons in Cambodia there are three times more prisoners compared to the designed capacity. For example, in the Takmao prison, the official capacity is only 314 prisoners, but actually, there are up to 1,042 prisoners. The M2 rehabilitation center in the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh, houses up to 777 women and children while the official capacity is merely 300. The Kompong Thom prison has 208 prisoners, while the official capacity is 50 prisoners only.

“The head of the investigation section of LICADHO, Mr. Oum Sam Ath, said that the major cause for the overcrowded prisons in Cambodia nowadays is that some offences should not lead to imprisonment, while now many suspects are detained temporarily before they get sentenced, affecting the judicial systems and the prisoners’ health. Also, there is overcrowding because many prisoners are jailed beyond the term of their conviction.

“Mr. Oum Sam Ath added that LICADHO recommended to the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior to discuss this situation with the Ministry of Justice and with the court system, to solve the problem of overcrowded prisons by checking the terms of imprisonment, and by releasing prisoners facing minor accusations, like misdemeanors, on bail.

“Nevertheless, the head of the Prison Department of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Heng Hak, said that the current number of prisoners is not the highest rate in the world.

“He went on to say, ‘At present, we are dealing with overcrowding by constructing new prisons or expanding the housing capacity of the existing prisons, such as M2 and M3, and by repairing old buildings as well as constructing new ones, like in Pursat, where we built a new prison – M4 – which can house 2,500 prisoners.’

“Mr. Heng Hak added that nowadays, the conditions for prisoners are better, as they now get a food support of Riel 2,800 [US$0.65] per day.

“Before, their food support was only Riel 1,500 [US$0.35]. The health of prisoners is better than before, as they are cared for by the government by cooperating with non-government organizations working on health issues, to check and to treat prisoners.

“It should be noted that at present, there are 25 prisons nationwide with 13,325 prisoners; LICADHO found that 90% of the prisoners are overcrowded, as these 25 prisons can house merely 8,000 prisoners.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2305, 20.7.2010

  • Samdech Hun Sen Announced to Continue a Long-Term Career in Politics
  • The Opposition Party Asked the United States of America to Guarantee [opposition party leader] Mr. Sam Rainsy’s Return [but so far, there is no response]
  • In This Year’s [lower secondary school] Grade 9 Examinations, 91.81% of the [159,724] Students Passed Which Is Comparable to Last Year

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7012, 20.7.2010

  • Two Female Workers Jumped from the Second Floor of a House to Escape [from the VC Manpower Company, sending workers to Malaysia] – One Was Seriously Injury [she broke her spine], the Other One Ran Away [Phnom Penh]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3936, 20.7.2010

  • The United States of America [during a visit by US Under-Secretary of State Mr. William Burns] Asked Cambodian Politicians to Think about the Freedom of Expression in Politics before They Decide to Use Court Systems to Solve Problems
  • The US Senate Created a New Law Requiring Companies Registered at the US Stock Exchange to Declare Their Payments to the Cambodian Government before Starting Oil and Gas Exploitation Later in 2012

Nokor Wat, Vol.1, #8, 20.7.2010

  • Cambodia Continues to Develop the Preah Vihear Area without Caring about Thai Warnings [Thailand claimed that the demarcation of the area between both countries have not been finished, but Cambodia claimed developments are made only on Cambodian territory]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #218, 20.7.2010

  • Those Who Attempt to Overthrow Hun Sen Using No-Democratic Means Will Receive a Response by Force [the Prime Minister warned the opposition parties for recently discussing his health condition]
  • Cambodia Angkor Air Will Buy Two Planes [Airbus 321, which cost about US$99.5 million each] to Expand Its Flights [so there will be five planes in total]
  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Closed Investigations of Case 002 [involving former Khmer Rouge leaders Khiev Samphan, Ieng Sary, Ieng Thirith, and Nuon Chea]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5254, 20.7.2010

  • LICADHO: Prisons in Cambodia Could Become Detention Places with the Highest Prisoner Rates in the World
  • Samdech Dekchor Wants Universities to Be Established in All Provinces [to reduce the expenses of students who seek to further their education in cities]
  • The National Budget for 2011 Amounts to Riel 12,000,000,000,000 [approx. US$2,800 million, compared with 2010 when it was Riel 8,000,000,000,000 or approx. US$1,900 Million – according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance]
  • Garment Workers of Two Factories with About 2,000 Workers Strike to Demand Improved Work Conditions in 16 Points [such as an extra payment of US$10 for female workers who have delivered a baby buy milk powder, and the permission for a 90 days absentee regulation during pregnancy – Phnom Penh]

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Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million – Wednesday, 7.7.2010

Posted on 9 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“Phnom Penh: A report of tourist statics shows that within five months of 2010, there were 1,054,821 international tourist arrivals in Cambodia, an increase by 11.53% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, and the arrivals from Vietnam had the highest number.

“The report was released by the Minister of Tourism, Mr. Thong Khon, for Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen on 29 June 2010, and it was then made available to journalists on 5 July 2010.

“The report says that, among the international tourist arrivals to Cambodia of more than one million, 552,523 tourists came to Cambodia by air (243,907 through the Phnom Penh International airport, and 308,616 through the Siem Reap airport), 409,349 tourists arrived on land, and 34,349 by ship. 58,743 tourists made one-day-return visits.

“Minister Thong Khon said that the 10 major tourism markets of origin for Cambodia within the first five months were:

  1. Vietnam: 175,937 tourists, an increase by 43.76%
  2. Korea: 125,455 tourists, an increase by 33.53%
  3. China: 74,558 tourists, an increase by 32.07%
  4. Japan: 67,658 tourists, an increase by 4.80%
  5. America: 65,472 tourists, a decrease by 5.43%
  6. England: 47,635 tourists, a decrease by 4.86%
  7. France: 46,600 tourists, a decrease by 0.51%
  8. Taiwan: 41,707 tourists, an increase by 41.82%
  9. Australia: 38,118 tourists, an increase by 11.05%
  10. Thailand: 36,995 tourists, a decrease by 13.83%

“Mr. Thong Khon said that the number of international tourists visiting the four priority tourism sites of Cambodia within these five months were:

  1. Siem Reap-Angkor: 565,803 tourists or 45.87% of the total tourist arrivals, increased by 26.63% compared to the same period in 2009.
  2. Phnom Penh: 489,018 or 39.65% of the total arrivals, increased by 11.9%
  3. Seashore regions: 81,459 tourists or 6.60% of the total arrivals decreased by 7.65%
  4. Eco-Tourism regions at the Northeast: 39,791 tourists or 3.23% increased by 91.28%

“Minister Thong Khon said that the number of national tourists visiting tourism resorts and regions countrywide within five months of 2010 were about 3.5 million, increased by 17% compared to the same period in 2009.

“Minister Thong Khon added that the number Cambodian tourists going abroad within five months of 2010 were 194,473, an increase by 14.86% compared to the corresponding period in 2009, where there were 339,698 Cambodian tourists going abroad, a decrease by 56.79% compared to 2008.

Note:
The numbers in the previous sentence do not tally – and this text does not provide any clue how to interpret the figures – giving percentages up to two digits behind the decimal point, so that any effort to speculate what the figures mean could, at the best, lead to some general statements, without pretending precision up to some hundredths of one per cent.
But we still try to mirror in The Mirror what is in the originals.

“The president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, Mr. Ang Kim Ieng, welcomed the increase of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia and said this is because the world is recovering from the economic crisis.

“Mr. Ang Kim Ieng added that even though Asian tourists to Cambodia, especially from Vietnam that stand on top of the list, who spend a short period of three days on average, spending less money than European tourists, it is still a positive sign for the tourism to Cambodia. Also, the current political stability and the good infrastructure of Cambodia, as well as the expansion of flights, help to attract tourists.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2294, 7.7.2010

  • Municipal Court Ordered [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua to Pay Her Fine within Ten Days [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen], otherwise she will be detained according to the law; Ms. Mu Sochua rejects to pay[as she considers the court decision not to have been just]
  • A Group of Japanese Investors Asked for Support from the Senate for Agricultural Investments in Cambodia [they began a pilot step by doing rice cultivation on 200 hectares in Battambang for rice export]

Khmer Amatak, Vol.11, #787, 7.7.2010

  • Can the Decision of Ms. Mu Sochua to Allow Herself to Be Imprisoned Change the Judicial System in Cambodia, and Bring Help from the International Community?

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7001, 7.7.2010

  • The Appeals Court Delayed Sam Rainsy’s Hearing [over the removal of border markers at the Cambodian-Vietnamese border; it was postponed as two prisoners involved in the case were not present]
  • Cambodia and Laos Connect a Fiber Cable Network [to expand highly effective communications]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3925, 7.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Yim Sovann: The Sam Rainsy Party Does Not Recognize Any Border Demarcation That Leads to the Loss of [Cambodian] Territory to neighboring countries [especially to Vietnam, where recently some farmers lost their land because of the new settings]

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #209, 7.7.2010

  • Cambodia Celebrated the Second Anniversary of the Listing of the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site [on 7 July 2010]
  • Four Forestry Department Higher Level Staff [accused of being involving in forestry crimes] in Koh Kong Were Released Temporarily [but they are still under court investigation; Prime Minister Hun Sen signed off on a letter sent by the Minister of Agriculture to the Koh Kong Court, requesting the temporary release of those forestry officials]
  • [The manager of a company said:] A South Korean Company, Korean Overseas Grains Investment and Development Corporation – KOGID – Plans to Spend US$7.35 Million to Buy Red Corn [from Cambodia]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5243, 7.7.2010

  • Within Five Months of 2010, Tourist Arrivals to Cambodia Were More Than One Million
  • The Minister of Agriculture of Cambodia Asked Vietnam to Invest in Agriculture [to produce more rice and become a major rice export country like Vietnam]
  • Eight Khmer Citizens Liberated from India Arrived in Cambodia [they had been trafficked to India]
  • [Minister of the Council of Ministers] Sok An: The Cambodian-Laotian Border Is No Longer a Problem [so far 88% of the border markers are set, along the border line of about 600 km]

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Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies – Tuesday, 6.7.2010

Posted on 8 July 2010. Filed under: Week 672 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 672

“A government official said on Monday that Cambodia is making way to create Freedom Parks for citizens to demonstrate, but local activists are concerned that this would restrict the freedom of expression. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mr. Khieu Sopheak, told Agence France-Presse [AFP], ‘All provinces and cities are organizing places for Freedom Parks.’ He added that the authorities countrywide had been notified accordingly.

“He went on to say that the parks planed to be established to provide safety and to permit people to freely express their opinions from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; it is compulsory to use them according to a law adopted last year that is the subject of controversial discussion.

“The law limits the number of demonstrators to 200 only; opposition party members and activists said that the authorities will use this limit defined in the law to restrict the freedom of expression.

“People from around the country have frequently demonstrated near the residence of Prime Minister Hun Sen about various issues, including about forced evictions, for which the government faces increasing criticism.

“An official of the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association [ADHOC], Mr. Chan Soveth, said that the new parks might also reduce the level of attention from the general public, if demonstrators are forced to demonstrate far from the Prime Minister’s residence. He added, ‘It is a good idea to provide an opportunity to people to express their ideas, but we are worried that Freedom Parks might force people to demonstrate at places which they do not prefer.” Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.9, #2293, 6.7.2010

  • [The Thai Prime Minister] Abhisit Expressed His Gratitude toward Cambodia [for sending two bomb attack suspects to Thailand]
  • In a Tragic Event, a Whole Family [of six members] Was Killed in a Traffic Accident [after a collision between a car and a truck – Siem Reap]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.43, #7000, 6.7.2010

  • An Inhuman Man Raped a Seven-Month Pregnant Woman and Then Killed Her; It Is a Grave Tragedy Where the Mother and the Infant Were Killed [the perpetrator was arrested – Sihanoukville]
  • The US President Announced Investments of US$2 Billion for Solar Energy Projects [to create solar energy plants]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.17, #3924, 6.7.2010

  • [Sam Rainsy Party parliamentarian] Mu Sochua: The Petition to Ask the United States of America to Help to Monitor Judicial Systems in Cambodia Has Reached the Hands of [US President] Barrack Obama

Phnom Penh Post [Khmer Edition], Vol.1, #208, 6.7.2010

  • Officials: Cambodia Organizes Freedom Parks for Assemblies
  • The Opposition Newspaper Khmer Machas Srok Suspends Its Publication due to Bankruptcy [after Deum Ampil, another critical paper, was announced on 2 July 2010 to be bankrupt]
  • The Government Encourages the Conservation of Old Constructions to Attract Tourists [like buildings of historical nature or traditional houses]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.18, #5242, 6.7.2010

  • Mu Sochua Maintains Her Position Not to Pay a Fine [for losing a defamation case against Prime Minister Hun Sen – considering the court verdict not to have been just] and Prepares to Get Jailed
  • Two People Were Killed and Four Others Were Wounded after a Truck Loaded with Cows Hit Motorbikes [Takeo]

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LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer – Saturday, 21.2.2009

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Human rights officials in Cambodia and many citizens are distrusting the judicial system, which is not independent and does not fulfill its role properly following principles of law, where investigating judges and prosecutors at different provincial and municipal courts as well at higher courts (Appeals Court and Supreme Court) made judgments, based only on reports or on notes of answers received from the authorities.

“On 19 February 2009, the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights – LICADHO – strongly condemned the Appeals Court, saying that it did not have a proper legal basis to prosecute a parachute soldier and condemn him to serve 15 years in prison for allegedly killing a president of the Cambodian Free Trade Union of Workers of a factory in Phnom Penh, Mr. Ruos Sovannareth.

“LICADHO claimed that the accused, Thach Saveth, 26, a former parachute soldier, was arrested for shooting dead Mr. Ruos Sovannareth, the free trade union president of the Try Togea Komara Garment Factory, on 7 May 2004, and the accused was arrested on 24 July 2004.

“The accused, Thach Saveth, was condemned by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to serve 15 years in prison on 15 February 2005, and the Appeals Court held a hearing on the appeal of the suspected murderer (Thach Saveth), upholding the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s 15-year-prison-term on 19 February 2009.

“According to LICADHO’s statement of 19 February 2009, there was no concrete reason to believe that the accused Thach Saveth is the murderer, and most of the evidence was fabricated.

“That there was no known investigation by the judges of the Municipal Court who just depended on police reports; this motivated LICADHO to strongly regret the decision; at the same time, this judgment of the Appeals Court did not contribute to find real justice for the real murderer. LICADHO emphasized in its statement that the judgment of the Appeals Court on 19 February 2009 is a bad model of injustice, because the court lacked evidence to put against the accused to be the murderer in the shooting to kill Mr. Ruos Sovannareth; the court did not have investigative evidence, but just relied on reports of the authorities.

“LICADHO went on to say that those who witnessed the murder of Mr. Ruos Sovannareth were not allowed to become witnesses in the hearing, and they were not questioned by the investigating judges in this murder case.

“LICADHO added that one among the many witnesses appeared at the hearing of the Appeals Court last week, as suggested by the defense lawyer of the accused, but the court did not question any of such witnesses. The director of LICADHO, Dr. Pong Chhiv Kek [Dr. Kek Galabru], said, ‘We condemn the judgment of the Appeals Court in order to show that LICADHO does not support such injustice, and we very much regret and are sad, seeing that the court did not provide real justice to the victim, because after national and international human rights groups attentively observed this hearing, they found that there wasn’t any evidence presented to put the burden on the accused.’

“Ms. Pong Chhiv Kek continued to say that at the time when the murderer shot dead Mr. Chea Sovannareth, the person accused to be the murderer was in the Anlong Veng district in Oddar Meanchey. She hopes that the Supreme Court will offer real justice to the victim Ruos Sovannareth who was murdered, release Thach Saveth falsely acused to be a murderer, and order the authorities to arrest the real murderer to be prosecuted, like in the case where the Supreme Court provided justice to the falsely accused Born Samnang and Sok Sam Ouen to be murderers, by releasing them and by ordering the case to be reinvestigated.” Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 21 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #121, 21.2.2009

  • Civil Society [the Cambodian Center for Human Rights and the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights] Voice Concern over the Weak Implementation of Law in the Judicial System in Cambodia
  • Vietnamese Minister of Defense [Phung Quang Thanh] Visits Cambodia Three Days
  • Private Tourist Sector Asks the Government to Find Ways to Facilitate the Traveling of Tourists to Cambodia

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1879, 21.2.2009

  • The [Phnom Penh] Municipal Court Requests to Remove Sam Rainsy’s Immunity [it asked the National Assembly to remove parliamentarian immunity from the president of the opposition party, Mr. Sam Rainsy, regarding an accusation of a violation during the election campaign]

Kampuchea Thngai Nis, Vol.5, #400, 21-27.2.2009

  • Rural Development Bank Official [Dr. Sun Kunthor] Calls for the Improvements of Product Qualities

Khmer Aphivaot Sethakech, Vol. 7, #347, 21-23.2.2009

  • LICADHO Criticized Judgment of the Appeals Court Prosecuting Thach Saveth, Falsely Accused to Be a Murderer

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #349, 21.2.2009

  • [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Commander-in-chief] Pol Saroeun Supports Hun Sen’s Plan to Remove Heng Samrin as the Honorary President of the Cambodian People’s Party [according to an article published by the Phnom Penh Post]

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6584, 21-22.2.2009

  • Siamese [Thai] Military Commander Apologizes for Artillery Shells Which Landed in Khmer Territory, and Siam [Thailand] Promises that Such a Case Will Not Happen Again
  • [Minister of Tourism Thong Khon asks] France to Help Create Professional Schools for Tourism

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3693, 21-22.2.2009

  • The Khmer Rouge Tribunal Announced to Run Out of Money [at the end of February 2009] while Hearings of Former Tuol Sleng Prison Chief Are Not Yet Finished

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4827, 21.2.2009

  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia Reject to Translate Full Court Documentation of [former Khmer Rouge leader] Mr. Khiev Samphan [into French, the language of his defense lawyer, though the court rules say that it is a trilingual court: Khmer, English, and French]
  • Labor Market of Construction Sector Drops by 50% [between 40,000 and 45,000 workers in total]; The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning, and Construction [Minister Im Chhun Lim] Said that It Is Not a Problem [he said that if they have no employment in the construction sector, there are fields and plantations and other work in agriculture]
  • Husband and Wife Were Rolled Over [by a truck] Leaving Their 8 or 9 Month Old Twin Sons [the driver of the truck escaped – Phnom Penh]
  • A German Man Died in the Ekareach Hotel in Sihanoukville [also known as the 7-Floors-Hotel, but national and international journalists are not allowed to enter the site, and the cause of the death is not yet known]

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