Cambodia: Two Prisoners Suffering from AIDS


Urgent Appeal Case: UA0207
ISSUES: Prison conditions,

Prom Mean Rith, 34 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997 Sar Ka Sem, 29 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997

Prom Mean Rith and Sar Ka Sem are two prisoners in PJ Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who are facing death due to AIDS and are unable to receive any medical treatment to alleviate their condition because of their imprisonment. The pleas of their families for their release have not met with any positive results. Concerned people who have followed the case fear that the two may die soon due to their inability to receive any treatment.

In addition to their pathetic situation, the cause of their imprisonment itself is part of the sad situation of politics in Cambodia. When a brother-in-law of Second Prime Minister Hun Sen was killed by gunmen, there was an attempt to link the murder to his archrival at the time, the leader of the Khmer Nation Party (KNP), Sam Rainsy. The KNP’s chief of security, Srun Vong Vannak, was arrested and charged for giving money to carry out the murder to the two men who are now languishing in prison with AIDS. Vannak was later sentenced to 13 years in prison in a trial that was condemned by international observers as totally unfair.

In December, Rainsy returned to Cambodia and a few days later publicly met Hun Sen for talks. After this political meeting, Hun Sen promised to release Vannak. However, the two unfortunate prisoners above were forgotten. These two men are now facing death due to AIDS and are not allowed to be released to receive medical treatment that may prolong their lives.

Well-wishers of the prisoners believe that outside pressure may bring some relief to the two men in prison.


You may write to Second Prime Minister Hun Sen using the letter suggested below. You may also write to the Foreign Ministry of your country to request that they discuss the matter with the Cambodian authorities.


His Excellency Hun Sen Second Prime Minister Office of the Council of Ministers Phnom Penh, Cambodia Fax: (855) 23-426-054


Your Excellency

Cases of Prom Mean Rith, 34 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997 – and Sar Ka Sem, 29 years old, male – HIV test on 19 November 1997 PJ Prison, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We have learned about the sad situation of the above-named prisoners who are urgently in need of medical treatment. We have also learned that if they do not receive medical treatment urgently they may face death in the near future. We kindly request Your Excellency to look into this matter on humanitarian grounds and to take suitable action to prevent the early death of these people. Your kind intervention could help to alleviate the suffering of these two men and their families.

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA0207
Countries : Cambodia,
Issues : Prison conditions,