Prison Cells

Building C at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was filled with classrooms that were converted into prison. Makeshift cells, each about 2′ x 6′ in size were created using bricks and metal support on the ground floor, and wooden panels on the second floor. There were chains cemented to the floor used to tie the prisoners. A prisoner had to stay quiet within their cell; if they made any noise, the prison guards would come and beat them up. The exterior of Building C was covered with barbed wire, to prevent any of the prisoners to attempt suicide by jumping from the higher floors.

Looking at these small cells, with the chain on the ground and only small amount of sunlight coming through from the outside, I wondered what a prisoner would be thinking when locked up in there.. Remembering the past when they were free? Fear of the guards outside? What to say when the interrogators asked questions about one’s background? Anxiety in anticipating execution? All of the above? It was very difficult to think how thousands of people went through the horror there.

The photo below was taken at one of those classrooms in Building C. You can see the makeshift prison cells built with cinder blocks.

Makeshift prison cells