A 15-year-old female prisoner in Ratanakkiri provincial prison has accused authorities of depriving her of sufficient clothing, food and bathing time in retaliation for her allegations of sexual harassment against a prison guard.
In a copy of a four-page letter to her mother dated Monday, the girl claimed that guards have been retaliating since she reported to local rights group Adhoc that a guard threatened her with a gun after she refused his sexual advances, and that guards watched pornographic films in the prison.
“Now I am only allowed to have a bath once in two days. Before I was allowed to take a bath every day. They also only give me a little amount of rice,” the teenager wrote.
She added that the guards now blast the audio volume of pornography films so loudly that it is inescapable, though they do not show her the TV screen.
“When they allow me to bathe they call me like I am a dog,” she wrote. “I can’t tolerate to suffer their bad treatment.”
Ratanakkiri provincial prison Chief Ngin Nel said the full facts could only be established by a visit to his jail.
“Some accusations are true and some are not,” he said. “If reporters come to see me at my office, they will know which ones are fact.”
The girl has served approximately one year of her five-year sentence for attempted murder.
Kol Sophan, deputy director general of the Interior Ministry’s Prison Administration Department, said on Tuesday that officials would go to Ratanakkiri to investigate the allegations after the Water Festival.
The girl’s two cellmates have alleged that they, too, had most of their clothes confiscated, leaving the three with one prison uniform each and a few sarongs, the girl said in the letter.
“Even if they are prisoners, they have their rights,” said Adhoc provincial coordinator Pen Bonnar.
The girl’s mother, Toet Sokheng, said she fears that the guards’ alleged punishments will become more severe.