The body of a 25-year-old Kandal province man who died in police custody Monday will be examined for a second time in order to determine whether police brutality was the cause of death, officials said yesterday.
“The victim’s family [will arrange] for another autopsy of the body so I cannot comment about the case,” said provincial court prosecutor, Ouk Kim Seth.
Police officials said yesterday that Lon Chhun Leng died of a seizure early Monday morning while detained on suspicion of fighting with another man after drinking at a wedding in Kandal Stung district’s Kandork commune.
“The victim really died because of a seizure,” said Mao Chatha, provincial penal police chief.
Provincial forensics bureau chief Saom Saran said yesterday that a thorough examination by his staff had revealed foam on the man’s mouth, which suggested a seizure.
Rights workers and relatives of the victim, however, contend that the death was likely due to police violence, which witnesses said began at the scene of the arrest.
“I saw the police officers use the handcuffs to beat” Mr Chhun Leng, said a cousin, Sok Ratha.
His account of the attack was echoed by Mr Chhun Leng’s father who said the two police officers, Chhel Sarat and Sun Vantha, who arrived Sunday night to break up a fight between Mr Chhun Leng and another man, brutally beat his son.
“He had bruises all over his torso and blood flowing from his ears and nose,” said Pav Long, adding that his son did not have a history of seizures and that he filed a complaint on Tuesday against the two officers.
“I will have another autopsy done on the body to collect evidence and I will find justice for my son.”
Chheng Sophors, a senior investigator for the human rights group Licahdo, said yesterday he was looking into the case.
“I doubt that the victim died from a seizure because he had bruises all over his body and blood coming out of his ears and nose,” said Mr Sophors.