Official: Deportees Inappropriately Detained

The government has detained 10 Cambodian deportees at an im­migration department compound for almost one month de­spite previous claims that the de­portees would be released after last week’s Asean Summit.

The 10 deportees, who arrived from the US Oct 17, have been held at the Pochentong Immigra­tion Department “against their will” despite having committed no crime in Cambodia and having served their sentences in the US, sources said.

“We very much appreciate…the many courtesies extended by the Immigration Department officials at all levels,” said Bill Herod, coordinator for the Returnees Assist­ance Project on Sunday. “Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that the detention of these citizens at all is inappropriate.”

So far, the US has deported 27 Cam­bodians under an agreement signed between the two countries in March. The pact allows the US to return Cambodians living in the US to Cambodia if they have been convicted of an aggravated fe­lony and completed their prison sen­tenc­es. The agreement could af­fect 1,400 Cambodians living in the US.

Although the two previous groups of deportees were de­tained at the Pochentong Immi­gration Department for 12 days, the group of 10 currently held at the immigration compound have remained detained for 25 days.

General Meach Sophana, director of the Ministry of Interior’s Foreign Department, refused to comment on Sunday.



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