More than 30 civil society organizations have condemned what they allege is the ruling CPP’s “arbitrary denial of medical care” to three of the Adhoc 5 human rights workers awaiting trial at Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison.
In a joint statement released on Wednesday the organizations said three detainees—Adhoc’s head of monitoring Ny Sokha, and his two deputies, Nay Vanda and Yi Soksan—have experienced a critical deterioration in health due to severe restrictions on visitors and medical personnel, which has put their physical and mental health in danger.
“We are deeply concerned…in particular that on 18 June 2017 Mr. Ny Sokha collapsed in a prison bathroom,” his high blood pressure worsened after the denial of regular medical check-ups, the statement said. It also cited a lack of “adequate medical care” and subpar conditions.
Conditions have been exacerbated by the prison’s overcrowding following a slew of “mass arrests” since the government’s six-month crackdown on drug users started in January, the statement said.
The groups—including Amnesty International, the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, Adhoc and Licadho—cited the country’s 2011 Prison Law and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which require adequate medical care for ill prisoners.
In a tweet on Wednesday evening Kem Monovithya, the CNRP’s deputy director of public affairs, laid blame for the rights workers’ poor conditions at the feet of the ruling party.
“The CPP govt. must be held responsible if any unfortunate incident happens to the sick rights detainees,” she said.
The five current and former human rights officials, four accused of bribery and one of being an accomplice to bribery in a case involving CNRP President Kem Sokha, have been held in provisional detention for 427 days.
They remain in custody despite multiple requests for bail and widespread condemnation of their detention as politically motivated.
The government has repeatedly defended the detentions and lashed out at criticism, saying the charges were brought in accordance with the law.