On Monday December 15th, the Swedish Ambassador, Ms. Anna Maj Hultgård, met with children of the Boeung Kak women imprisoned in Prey Sar. She was accompanied by Ms. Pung Chhiv Kek (President of LICADHO) and Mr. Ee Sarom (Executive Director of STT). After learning about the women’s hunger strike, Ms. Hultgård pledged that she would work with other EU embassies and press the government to release every activist as soon as possible.
At 9:30 that morning, a team of doctors and NGO representatives were permitted access into CC2 prison to treat the 11 female activists inside. Eight of the women have been on a hunger strike since the 10th of December. Most of them have lost a significant amount of weight and fallen ill, but Tep Vanny and the other women still remain strong in spirit. Three of the women (Yeah Mamy, Phan Chonreth, and Noung Sreng) are not taking part in the hunger strike due to their poor health conditions. The eight on strike do not eat any food; they only drink vitamins, soya milk, and other liquids.
All of the women continue to come up with advocacy-related schemes to peacefully resist inside CC2 prison despite their weakened state from the hunger strike, lack of sleep, worrying about their families, and poor prison conditions. The CC2 Director complained that the women are stubborn, disobey prison rules, and sometimes yell at him. A medical team is set to visit them once a week or, if hunger strike continues beyond late December, maybe twice a week.
Later that afternoon, the same team of doctors and NGO representatives went to the CC1 prison to treat some inmates that had staged a hunger strike from December 5th to the 10th. The seven men—three monks, three CNRP activists, and Mr. Meach Sovannara—are now eating normally but are suffering from lack of sleep and other problems related to the poor prison conditions. They are being held in cells with 50-70 other prisoners.
Last week, Mr. Sovannara asked to be moved to the medical room in CC1 prison but the director refused. Mr. Sovannara also confirmed that he was never taken to the Russian Hospital since his bail hearing. He has been informed about his trial on December 25th—along with 10 other CNRP activists—though it is likely that the outcome depends on current negotiations between the CPP and CNRP. A medical team will visit them again next week.