Judge Drops Murder Charges Against Officers

Charges against two RCAF officers accused of torturing a fellow sol­dier to death were dropped and the two were released by Kratie Prov­­­incial Court on Tuesday, In­vesti­gating Judge Kong Sokhom said.

Son Heng, a company commander in RCAF’s Battalion 204, and his brother-in-law Kong Kouy, were being held in Kratie provincial prison in connection with the Au­­­gust 2004 death of Ny Sok Rorn, 35, a soldier from the same bat­­tal­ion. Ny Sok Rorn was missing for al­­most two weeks before he was re­turned home severely beaten, in­coherent and terrified during the fi­nal days of his life.

“I released them on Tuesday be­cause I found no evidence to de­tain them. I decided to drop char­ges against them too,” Investi­gat­ing Judge Kong Sokhom said. “I asked [rights group] Adhoc’s in­vest­i­gator to provide evidence and wit­nesses but they failed to do so.”

Kong Sokhom added that any party who disagreed with the verdict could submit an appeal.

“They already had evidence,” Ad­hoc spokesman Chan Soveth said Wednesday, referring to Ny Sok Rorn’s tortured body and statements made by his widow, Koeun Chean, 33. Ad­hoc had helped Koeun Chean bring her com­plaint before the court.

“Judge Kong Sokhom did not in­vestigate the case fully before dropping the charges,” Chan Soveth said, adding that Adhoc will launch an appeal.

Prak Saran, Adhoc investigator in Kratie, said that the in­vestigating judge visited Koeun Chean with two military police and commune officials. He said they persuaded Koeun Chean to withdraw her com­­­plaint and promised her $1,000 in compensation.

“Kong Sokhom asked her to con­sider withdrawing her complaint, advising that she could not win the case against the suspects be­­­cause she is poor and she would face problems of having no money for the trip back and forth to court,” Prak Saran said.

Kratie provincial Prosecutor Penh Vibol, who had pressed for an investigation into the death, said Wednesday he was un­aware that the suspects had been released.

 

Related Stories

Latest News

The Weekly DispatchA new weekly newsletter from The Cambodia Daily delivering news, analysis and opinion to your inbox. Published every Friday at 11:30am. Sign up today.