A man in Prey Veng province arrested more than two years ago on robbery charges failed to prove that two police officers tortured him while trying to extract a confession, a Prey Veng judge ruled Monday.
“There was not enough evidence, and there were no witnesses” to the alleged torture, said Prey Veng Judge Kim Eng, who cleared the two officers, Sok Kimsan and Eat Sam At.
Thorn Eth, 35, claimed he was beaten in September 2001 in Mesang district, Prey Veng, by officers acting on an arrest warrant issued in Svay Rieng, where Thorn Eth is suspected of robbery.
Thorn Eth’s attorney, Kong Pisey, argued that after his client was captured, he received a severe beating that left black marks across his chest. He received medical attention several days later, then filed a formal complaint against the officers.
But the two officers claimed the beating never happened. Six witnesses agreed. Four were police officers; two lived next to the station where Thorn Eth claimed he was beaten.
A crucial blow to Thorn Eth’s case came when the doctor who examined him two years ago issued a revised report four days prior to the trial. In the new report, the doctor wrote that his original examination had been flawed.
The outcome of Monday’s trial drew frustration from Licadho. The human rights group was instrumental in bringing the case to trial. “Licadho is extremely concerned about the recent verdict from the court and it’s saddening that the court has not done its job to protect those victims of torture,” said Licadho Director Naly Pilorge.