CNRP Lawmaker Plans to Visit Controversial Detention Center

Opposition CNRP lawmaker Eng Chhay Eang says he will visit Phnom Penh’s Prey Speu social affairs center today to investigate its controversial treatment of detainees following the death of a recent charge.

Mr. Chhay Eang, who heads the National Assembly’s human rights commission, said Wednesday it was imperative that he visit the center following revelations that an ill detainee died there on November 26 after being denied medical care for several weeks.

“It is necessary for me to go and inspect the situation in order to guarantee that there are no human rights abuses there,” he said.

Phnom Penh social affairs director Sorn Sophal claims that So Phea, a homeless man who was picked up by authorities on November 2, was sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Referral Hospital on at least two occasions during his time at the center. However, the hospital has no record of his ever being there.

Rights groups accuse the center of illegally detaining vagrants and drug users and physically abusing them.

Mathieu Pellerin, a consultant for Licadho, welcomed the attention Mr. Chhay Eang’s visit would bring to the center’s practices, but worried that by announcing his arrival in advance, the lawmaker would give staff time to hide any incriminating evidence.

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