NGO Investigating Ratanakkiri Prison Guard

Rights workers in Ratanakkiri prov­ince are investigating allegations by a 15-year-old convict that a pris­on guard threatened to shoot her after she refused to have sex with him, officials said Thursday.

Ratanakkiri Adhoc Coordinator Pen Bonnar said he interviewed the provincial prison guard, Ba Vi­sai, whom the allegations were made against, the female prisoner and her cellmates on Thursday.

Pen Bonnar said he learned of the allegations from Toet Sokheng, 52, the mother of the 15-year-old prisoner who is serving a five year sentence for the attempted murder of a neighbor.

According to the female prisoner, the guard went to her cell late at night on Oct 14 and attempted to give her 5,000 riel for sex.

Ba Visai also offered a female cell­mate 2,000 riel to stay quiet during his intended encounter, but the 43-year-old woman shouted for as­sistance and woke other prisoners, Pen Bonnar said.

Enraged, Ba Visai allegedly re­turned with a gun and began to threaten the prisoners, but other guards had already removed the bul­lets because he was so angry, Pen Bonnar said.

“They are very worried for their se­curity in prison. They want to find justice for themselves,” Pen Bon­nar said.

Ba Visai could not be contacted for comment.

Pen Bonnar said he interviewed Ba Visai who denies the allegations, but admitted he was very drunk on the night and cannot re­member clearly what he said.

Provincial Prison Chief Ngin Nel said there had been no intention to threaten the young female prisoner.

“He asked her for sex and gave her some money, but he was just joking,” Ngin Nel said.

“He has joked with her many times,” he said.

Deputy Prison Chief Voeun Sa­von denied the accusations, saying the guard had been drunk at the time and had only given the prisoner a little money to buy fruit and cake.

“I compromised between them,” Voeun Savon said. “I asked [Ba Visai] to sign and thumbprint an agreement to stop drinking and af­fecting or threatening female prisoners. I asked him to respect mor­ality and discipline in the prison,” he said.

Pen Bonnar added that three fe­male prisoners had also reported guards playing pornographic videos in the prison.


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