Prisoner Dies in Wait for Court

A man died of ma­l­aria after being held in Takhmau prison for over a month waiting to be charged in court, a rights worker said recently.

He is the 17th person to die in one of 18 prisons surveyed in Cambodia so far this year and the second to die before being tried in court, statistics from the hum­an rights organization Licadho showed.

Sok Sopheaktra, 28, died Dec 1 in Chey Chomneah hospital. He had been receiving treatment for six days, rights workers said. “It is truly careless of the prison to not provide medical treatment to the prisoners,” one rights work­­er said. “The police did not manage to send him to the hospital until he became seriously sick.”

Police denied the allegation, saying they provided Sok So­pheaktra with timely medical treatment. The problem was that the victim had an untreatable form of leukemia, not malaria, said Tom Vai, chief of justice police in Kandal province.

The medical death certificate said the patient died of cardiac and respiratory failure as a result of cerebral malaria. Fourteen of the 17 who died in prison succumbed to disease, Licadho statistics showed.

Sok Sopheaktra was arrested on charges of trafficking on Oct 24 and transferred to Takhmau prison two days later.

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