Inmate on Trial for Insulting Prison Director and Daughter

An inmate at Prey Sar prison’s Correctional Center 2 (CC2) in Phnom Penh—a facility for women and children—stood trial at the municipal court on Monday on charges of insulting prison officials, including the director and his daughter, who works as a guard.

Addressing the courtroom on Monday, Tep Sreypov admitted to having insulted CC2’s director, Khlout Dara, and “cursing” his daughter, Khlout Kaknika. But she insisted the charge, which followed a January 2015 complaint from Mr. Dara, stemmed from the humiliating events surrounding a December 2014 cavity search conducted by Ms. Kaknika.

Following a tip that she had concealed drugs on her person, Ms. Sreypov said, she was confronted by Mr. Dara, who ordered his daughter to carry out a body search, including an inspection of her vagina.

Angered by this invasion of privacy, Ms. Sreypov said, she verbally accosted Ms. Kaknika.

“I cursed his daughter, and I did not curse him,” she told the courtroom, adding that she had also asked the director’s daughter if she “ever hid drugs in her [vagina],” using a vulgar term.

The defendant—who told the court that the search yielded no drugs—said that a few days earlier, she also made disparaging remarks to the director himself.

“The director asked me to give my thumbprint and I asked, ‘A thumbprint for what?’” she said. “I just said the director was stupid and did not know anything.”

Contacted after the trial on Monday, Mr. Dara said he filed the complaint against Ms. Sreypov because she had failed to follow the prison’s “internal rules” and insulted prison officials.

“She cursed and insulted the officials and did not respect the internal rules of the center…. It was so rude and unacceptable,” he said, adding that he could not recall specific examples.

Asked about the cavity search, the prison director said Ms. Sreypov had been exaggerating in court, denying that the woman’s genitals were inspected, or that she was even made to disrobe.

“There was no taking off of clothes,” he said, also rejecting Ms. Sreypov’s claim that he had forced her to thumbprint a document.

“She is just saying all of this to defame us. She defamed me and my daughter,” he said. “We warned her [to follow the rules] many times, but she did not listen.”

Heng Samnang, CC2’s deputy chief of operations, said outside the courtroom that Ms. Sreypov was initially imprisoned on a drug-trafficking conviction and was now serving time for fresh drug charges.

Presiding Judge Mon Mony Sorphea said a verdict in the case would be delivered on January 28.

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