Human rights groups will file a complaint today against three Takeo province police officers accused of beating an amputee to death, and will also investigate whether the officers have been illegally detained since the incident, rights officials said Thursday.
The Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee, an umbrella organization of human rights groups, will send a complaint to Takeo provincial court, said Men Makara, provincial director of the rights group Adhoc.
The committee will also request that the Interior Ministry and Prime Minister Hun Sen take action on the matter, he added.
Hun Nak, widow of victim Keo Yann, 40, told Adhoc investigators that officers Meas Ron, Phom Yeam and Sam Yann came to their home Oct 9 with intent to arrest her brother but got into an argument with her husband, Men Makara said.
The officers beat Keo Yann on the head with a pair of handcuffs, and then smashed his skull against a wooden bed when he slumped to the floor, she told investigators.
Hun Nak would not thumbprint her statements to Adhoc, saying she was afraid of police, Men Makara said. She told investigators she had earlier accepted rice and cash from police not to file a complaint, he said. “We want to prosecute them. They were very cruel,” he said.
Adhoc also plans to send a delegation to meet with provincial Prosecutor Kann Cheoun to determine the legality of the three officers’ detention at the provincial police station, where they have been held without warrant since the Oct 9 incident, Men Makara said.
Takeo police Chief Vuth Phally on Thursday defended the handling of the suspects in the case.
“For us, we follow the law. If we don’t follow the law, how can we have a peaceful country?” he said.
Police were scheduled to send a report on the incident to the provincial prosecutor Thursday evening, Takeo Deputy provincial police Chief Suon Phon said earlier Thursday.
(Additional reporting by Thet Sambath)