Kompong Thom Provincial Court has ordered a police investigation into the suspicious death of a farmer who was allegedly tortured while in military police custody, the court’s chief prosecutor Huot Hy said Jan5.
Tous Sdoeung, 30, died in detention between Dec 29 and 30 in Sadan district’s Tumring commune after he was arrested for burning down his home and beating his wife while drunk, police and human rights workers said.
“I have ordered judicial police and medical personnel to go there and report back to me,” Huot Hy said.
Nguon Solina, provincial coordinator for local rights organization Adhoc, said that when Tous Sdoeung’s body was released by the military police, it was covered in bruises and his face was bloody.
“There was torture, and the next day he died,” Nguon Solina said.
Kompong Thom’s military police chief Y Phen could not be contacted for comment.
Nguon Solina added that a provincial military police officer has since paid the victim’s wife $750 as compensation for apparently killing Tous Sdoeung while in detention.
Nevertheless the rights groups Adhoc, Licadho and the Cambodian Defenders Project intend to pursue criminal charges against those responsible for the death of the detained man, Nguon Solina said.
“It is illegal. Torture is illegal,” she added.
Provincial police chief Mao Pov said that his officers are investigating the death and confirmed that the dead man’s body showed visible signs of violent assault.
Mao Pov and prosecutor Huot Hy said they were unaware of reports circulating Jan 5 that money was paid to the victim’s wife.
“I don’t know about a compromise, but the case must be sent to court,” Huot Hy added.