Alleged Torture Victims Promise to Appeal

The alleged victims of torture will appeal Friday’s acquittal of five former and current Kom­pong Cham provincial prison guards who were charged with beating the prisoners.

“This is not fair, so my clients will appeal,” said Khov Chantha, who is representing the five alleged victims. The five plaintiffs are all former inmates of Kompong Cham prison and are currently serving sentences in other prisons.

The alleged victims accused Kompong Cham provincial prison guards Rong Piseth, Chhoung Sophea, Tun Kim, Kol Virak and Hak Yi of severely beating them on Dec 13, 1999, after the five prisoners tried to escape.

The Kompong Cham provincial court on Friday acquitted the five prison guards.

During Friday’s trial, all five alleged victims testified that they were beaten to varying degrees. One, Roeuk Chan Thuon, said he was struck three times with a wooden stick and hit six or seven times by a guard.

“I want justice for the beating,” Roeuk Chan Thuon said during the trial.

Several of the guards also admitted during the trial on Friday to striking the inmates.

“I slapped [one of the inmates’] head and pushed him strongly,” said Tun Kim, one of the accused.

Human rights observers at the trial denounced the court’s decision and expressed concern that the victims and four witnesses, all of whom are serving sentences in either Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh or Trapaeng Plong prison in Kompong Cham, could be punished for testifying.


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