Drug Treatment Center Patients Arrested for Beating Death

Three men being treated for drug addiction in Battambang province were arrested Monday after allegedly beating another patient to death in a Bavel district treatment center that morning, police said yesterday.

Ne Tal, provincial bureau chief for serious crimes, said the suspects–Ra Voylean, 23, Sith Vannak, 22, and Soeun Heachsamneang, 22–were put in detention yesterday in Battambang City and would be sent to court today.

“Now the suspects are in pretrial detention at the prison,” Mr Tal said. “I will send them to court tomorrow for charging. In the document I will send to the court, I will allege that they seriously beat the victim until he died, but I don’t know what they will be charged with by the court.”

The victim, 25-year-old Prach Bunthol, was beaten to death at the World of Hope Center after he used a half-meter stick of iron to try to stab his roommates during morning exercise, after which they turned and attacked him, according to Mr Tal.

“The director of the drug rehabilitation center should take care,” Mr Tal said.

Chea Thaun, director of the rehabilitation center and the deputy provincial police chief, said the victim had only arrived at the center four days ago, while the three suspects had been there for a few months.

“Now we have to put more police and guards to protect [patients],” Mr Thaun said. “This is an experience for us to pay attention, because it has never happened before.”

There are a total of 28 people being treated at the rehabilitation center, according to Mr Thaun, who added that treatment at the center is voluntary.

Rights groups have criticized Cambodia’s drug treatment centers for arbitrary detention, violence and sexual abuse.

Lieutenant General Moek Dara, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, has said there are currently 15 treatment centers nationwide. The Council of Ministers on Dec 10 approved a sub-decree on the creation and function of an additional drug rehabilitation center in Preah Sihanouk province.



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