On Friday, January 16th 2015, the mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts visited 10 female activists in Prey Sar prison. Lowell is home to the second-largest population of Cambodian-Americans in the U.S.
“Speaking to reporters after exiting Prey Sar, Mr. Elliott said he decided to visit the activists after receiving numerous requests from residents of Lowell—home to about 30,000 Cambodian-Americans—that he check on their health and well-being” (Cambodia Daily, January 17th 2015).
One of the more prominent imprisoned activists, Tep Vanny, explained their situation to Mr. Elliott. “We all got arrested and placed into prison simply because we protested to demand that City Hall remove the water that flooded our houses”.
After meeting with the activists, Mr. Elliott promised to ask the government to reverse the court’s decision to imprison them. “We will submit a request to the government to reconsider the decisions that have been made in the court—based upon our conversations, [the activists] have done nothing wrong except for asking to express themselves—so that’s what we will do”.